The way things are going, Bulls leaders Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane, seen here getting ready to lift the Super Rugby Unlocked trophy, may hoist the Currie Cup aloft as well. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix
The way things are going, Bulls leaders Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane, seen here getting ready to lift the Super Rugby Unlocked trophy, may hoist the Currie Cup aloft as well. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Perhaps the rugby gods are Bulls fans...

By Ashfak Mohamed, Opinion Time of article published Dec 24, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The saying goes that you make your own luck, especially when it comes to sport.

Well, for the Bulls, it is more a case of luck being on their side during this rugby season.

They were the only top side to have played in all their Super Rugby Unlocked matches (bottom-of-the-log Griquas were the other outfit to fulfil all six matches), with the other teams all affected by Covid-19 cancelling their games.

The Bulls effectively won the Unlocked title before their final match against the Pumas after the Sharks-Stormers encounter was called off.

The SA Rugby Union also decided that the log points earned in Unlocked would be carried over to the Currie Cup. This was ostensibly agreed to as the Springboks were due to play in the Rugby Championship in Australia and would not be able to feature for their local teams.

But then, SA Rugby opted not to involve the national side in the Championship.

That allowed the Bulls to continue fielding a powerful line-up that included World Cup players such as Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane, in-form Boks like Marco van Staden, Morné Steyn, Ivan van Zyl and Cornal Hendricks – and other possible selections like Stedman Gans and Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Jake White largely stuck with his first-choice side, and the players were starting to feel the physical effects of playing every week, which made the Bulls coach consider resting some of his key figures – Vermeulen was definitely going to sit out the Griquas and Lions matches.

That’s when another twist came: the Bulls had a number of positive Covid-19 tests amongst their playing and coaching staff, and their trip to Kimberley was called off.

Subsequently, they have managed to shift the Lions and Pumas games to later dates due to the coronavirus outbreak, which effectively results in a three-week break over the festive period, when the Sharks, Cheetahs, WP and Griquas are scheduled to play …

And just yesterday, there were rumours that the Cheetahs-Sharks clash on Sunday could also be cancelled due to further positive Covid-19 cases in the Durban side’s squad.

Bulls chief executive Edgar Rathbone made a good point this week when he stated that when the season started, “we knew it’s not going to be a normal competition, and that there would be interruptions”. But he also added: “They (the Bulls) get a bit of time with their families now and get to spend Christmas with their families, which hopefully recharges the batteries and they come back stronger.”

That is the main bone of contention amongst rival teams’ fans. Everything just seems to be going the Bulls’ way this season – they could play all their Unlocked fixtures; their Griquas cancellation was a blessing in disguise; and now they have been able to move the Lions and Pumas games due to scheduled byes working in their favour.

Perhaps the rugby gods are Bulls fans ... Just send the Currie Cup to Loftus Versfeld already …

IOL Sport

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