Bulls (rugby union)

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Bulls
BullsRugbyClubLogo.png
Union South African Rugby Union
Founded 1997
Location Pretoria, South Africa
Region Pretoria, Gauteng Province,
Limpopo Province
Ground(s) Loftus Versfeld (Capacity: 51,762)
Coach(es) Frans Ludeke
Captain(s) Pierre Spies, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe
League(s) Super Rugby
2014 9th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.thebulls.co.za

The Bulls, for sponsorship reasons known as the Vodacom Bulls, are a South African rugby union team competing in the Super Rugby competition. They are based in Pretoria and play their home matches at Loftus Versfeld. Prior to 1998, the Bulls competed in the then-Super 12 as Northern Transvaal, as in those years South Africa was represented in the competition by its top four Currie Cup sides from the previous season, instead of the modern Super Rugby teams.

The side won the Super 14 in 2007, 2009 and 2010, placing them among the most successful teams in the Super Rugby history with three titles. They were the most successful team of the Super 14 era (2006–10), winning three out of the five titles. The current team captain is Pierre Spies, with Dewald Potgieter as stand-in captain on 29 June 2013. The coach is Frans Ludeke.

History[edit]

Early History[edit]

Prior to the professional Super Rugby competition, Northern Transvaal competed in the Super 10, which was a tournament featuring ten teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Tonga and Western Samoa, which ran from 1993 to 1995. The top three teams from the previous Currie Cup season qualified for each of the Super 10 tournaments.

Northern Transvaal competed in the 1993 season, where they were grouped in Pool B alongside Transvaal, New South Wales, North Harbour and Waikato. Transvaal finished at the top of the pool, with Northern Transvaal finishing third, behind New South Wales. Northern Transvaal did not qualify for the Super 10 (Southern Hemisphere competition)#1994 Super 10 or 1995 seasons.

Northern Transvaal Badge

Early Professional Era (1996 - 2005)[edit]

After rugby union went professional, the Super 10 tournament was restructured. The Super 12 was created, and was to be competed by teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Both Australia and New Zealand adopted new franchise models for their teams, whereas South Africa chose to use the Currie Cup to decide what teams were to be promoted in the Super 12 each season.

Competing in the inaugural Super 12 season of 1996, Northern Transvaal were one of the 12 teams. The side won eight of their 11 games and finished third on the table – behind only Auckland and Queensland. Jannie Kruger finished the season in the top three leading point-scorers, behind only Matthew Burke and John Eales. The side was however soundly defeated in a semi-final by the Auckland Blues, with the final score being 48 points to 11. The game was played at Eden Park in Auckland.

After their fairly successful performance in the opening competition, the subsequent competition of 1997 saw them with three wins and three draws from 11 games. They finished at eighth. Following the 1997 season, South Africa adopted a similar franchise system to that of Australia and New Zealand's, abolishing the Currie Cup promotion system in favour of creating new franchises. The Bulls were formed as one of the four new teams. They did not make the semis in the 1998 season.The Bulls were considered one of the worst teams in the Super 12 competition, finishing last or second to last for five consecutive seasons from 1998–2003. In 2002, they became the first team ever to go through an entire Super Rugby season without winning a single game. This record remained until the Lions repeated the feat during the 2010 season. After finishing fourth in the inaugural competition, they didn't make the semis again until the years 2003.

The Bulls finished in 6th place in both 2003 and 2004, though still missing out on a finals position. They equalled there 1996 performance in 2005, although there was a very poor start to the season, it was followed by six straight wins to earn them a semi-final berth, where they were defeated by the New South Wales Waratahs. Bryan Habana finished in the top three try-scorers by the end of the season, and was short-listed for IRB player of the year.

The Bulls playing the Western Force in Perth, Australia in 2006.

Super 14 Era (2006–10)[edit]

In 2006, the Super 12 became the Super 14, with the addition of two new franchises, the Central Cheetahs and the Western Force. By the last round of the 2006 season, the Bulls, along with the Brumbies and Sharks were all in contention to take the fourth and final position on the ladder to make the semi-finals. After the Brumbies were defeated 33 to 3 by the Crusaders, the Bulls or Sharks could mathematically take the fourth spot. The Bulls defeated the Stormers at Newlands in Cape Town 43 points to 10, which ensured they went through to the semi-finals. The Bulls travelled to Christchurch where they were defeated 35 to 15 at Jade Stadium and knocked out of the finals.

The Bulls lost their first game of the 2007 Super 14 season, going down to the Sharks in Durban 17 points to 3, though the next week they posted their first win of the season, defeating the Central Cheetahs at home in Pretoria. Entering week 14, the last round of the regular season, the Bulls were chasing an unlikely 72-point win over the Queensland Reds in order to move into second place and get a home semi-final.[1] At Loftus, the Bulls defeated the Reds 92 points to 3, with the 89-point margin of victory setting a new Super rugby record.[1] The Bulls ran in 13 tries with four players getting doubles and Derick Hougaard kicking 11 conversions. The Sharks finished first, so it became the first time that both home venues in the semi-finals was in South Africa.

The Bulls defeated the Crusaders in their semi-final by 27 points to 12, with Derick Hougaard kicking eight penalties and a drop-goal. The Sharks ensured a home-final in the 2007 Super 14-competition by defeating the Blues with a scoreline of 34–18.

When the Bulls met the Sharks in the Super 14 final at the Absa Stadium in Durban the match turned out to be a tight, nervous affair with the Bulls initially being guilty of indiscipline and making a lot of mistakes. The Sharks carried a 14–10 advantage into half-time after a JP Pietersen try cancelled out one from Pierre Spies. The second half of the match was just as nail-biting, with the Bulls gaining the ascendancy in the match, but failing to turn their rising amount of possession into points. A Derick Hougaard penalty closed the gap to 14–13, after which the Bulls made several onslaughts on the Sharks line, only to lose the ball at critical stages. Their match looked to be all but over for the Bulls when Albert van den Berg barged over the line for a Sharks try two minutes from full-time to stretch their lead to six points. However, Francois Steyn failed with the conversion attempt, and the Bulls restarted with barely seconds on the clock. After regaining the ball from the kick-off, play went through several phases before Bryan Habana received the ball on the right wing. He cut infield and scored the most dramatic of match winning tries, more than a minute after official play. The try was converted by Derick Hougaard and the Bulls won the match by 20 points to 19. In 2009 the Bulls again won the super 14, defeating the Chiefs 61 – 17 in the final in Pretoria.

In 2010 the Bulls again finished top of the log by beating the Crusaders in a home semi final to secure a home final. Because the Fifa World cup was being hosted by South-Africa that year and Loftus was included as a venue, they had to play the Semi and Final in Soweto, A first in Super rugby history. The Stormers had beaten the Waratahs at home and would face off with the Bulls in the Final. The Bulls won the final once again in dramatic style when Francois Hougaard side stepped the Stormers Fullback Joe Petersen to score an impressive try.

Super Rugby Era (2011– Present)[edit]

Home Grounds[edit]

Bulletjie, the Blue Bulls mascot

The Bulls play all their home matches at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, which is also the home of the Blue Bulls during the Currie Cup season. The stadium is also a regular host for Springboks Test matches, and was a venue during the 1995 Rugby World Cup which South Africa hosted. Loftus was a venue for Pool D matches including France v Tonga, Scotland v Tonga and France v Scotland. Loftus was also used twice during the finals stages – for the New Zealand v Scotland quarter-final and the England v France third place play-off.

The ground has been used for rugby since 1908, and in 1932 the stadium was renamed to Loftus Versfeld in honor of Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, the founder of organized rugby in Pretoria.[2][3] The stadium has undergone numerous renovations over the years, and is currently capable of holding 51,762 spectators.

Franchise Area[edit]

The Bulls Cheerleaders

The team is centred around the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, whose catchment covers Pretoria as well as Limpopo, but also draws players from the Falcons Rugby Union, who represent the East Rand. Through 2005, the Bulls also drew players from the Pumas Rugby Union and Leopards Rugby Union, but in the realignment of franchise areas that came from the expansion of Super 12 to Super 14, these unions were moved into the Lions.

Supporters[edit]

Bulls supporters are known to be very passionate about rugby and their team in particular. This can sometimes lead to unfortunate incidents such as in March 2012, when Johannes Gideon Nel spoiled the Blues 29-23 victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld. Blues captain Keven Mealamu was hit by a bottle thrown by Johannes.[4][5]

Current squad[edit]

For player movements before and during the 2015 season, see List of 2014–15 Super Rugby transfers#Bulls.

The Bulls announced a 55-man wider training squad for the 2015 Super Rugby season on 13 November 2014.[6]

Props

Hookers

Locks

 

Loose Forwards

Scrum Halves

Fly Halves

 

Centres

Wingers

Full Backs

(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes player is internationally capped.

Coaches[edit]

Captains[edit]

Records and Statistics[edit]

Super 12, Super 14 and Super Rugby eras.[edit]

Competition Period Games Won Drawn Lost Win % Points for Average PF Points against Most points for Most points conceded
Super 12 1996–2005 112 36 6 70 32.14% 2696 24.07 3550 75–14 vs Stormers (2005) 75–27 vs Crusaders (2000)
Super 14 2006–10 72 48 1 23 66.67% 2064 28.67 1623 92–3 vs Reds (2007) 54–19 vs Crusaders (2008)
Super Rugby 2011–13 50 32 0 18 64.00% 1372 27.44 1123 61–8 vs Reds (2012) 41–19 vs Crusaders (2013)
Overall 1996–2013 234 116 7 111 49.57% 6132 26.21 6296 92-3 vs Reds (2007) 75–27 vs Crusaders (2000)

Ten highest Super Rugby scores since 1996[edit]

Super Rugby
Number Score Opponent Date Scorecard
1 92 - 3 Reds 5 May 2007 Scorecard
2 75 - 14 Stormers 28 April 2005 Scorecard
3 62 - 52 Lions 8 May 2004 Scorecard
4 61 - 8 Reds 24 March 2012 Scorecard
5 61 - 17 Chiefs 30 May 2009 Scorecard
6 60 - 20 Cheetahs 17 May 2008 Scorecard
7 59 - 26 Blues 21 February 2009 Scorecard
8 59 - 29 Highlanders 20 March 1996 Scorecard
9 51 - 11 Lions 24 April 2010 Scorecard
10 51 - 19 Cheetahs 3 March 2012 Scorecard

Results per opposition[edit]

The Bulls full playing record against other teams are:[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Super Rugby
Opposition Period Played Won Drawn Lost Win% Points for Average PF Points against Best score Worst score 40-49 points 50+ points
Sharks 1996–2013 22 12 2 8 52.38% 422 19.18 461 34-27 (29 Apr 2006) 32-10 (6 Jul 2012) 0 0
Waratahs 1996–2013 19 11 0 8 57.89% 458 24.11 538 48-38 (27 Feb 2010) 53-7 (10 Mar 2001) 1 0
Highlanders 1996–2013 18 6 1 11 33.33% 448 24.29 534 59-29 (20 Mar 1996) 65-23 (6 Mar 1999) 2 2
Reds 1996–2013 18 7 0 11 38.39% 467 25.94 399 92-3 (5 May 2007) 48-12 (12 Apr 2002) 0 2
Crusaders 1996–2013 23 9 0 14 39.13% 544 23.65 750 40-35 (7 May 2010) 75-27 (28 Apr 2000) 1 0
Blues 1996–2013 18 6 1 11 33.33% 475 26.39 631 59-26 (20 Feb 2009) 65-24 (19 Apr 2002) 2 1
Chiefs 1996–2012 18 8 1 9 44.44% 522 29.00 552 61-17 (30 May 2009) 53-24 (27 Apr 2002) 1 1
Lions 1996–2012 19 13 1 5 68.42% 579 30.47 456 62-52 (8 May 2004) 57-24 (3 Apr 1999) 1 2
Hurricanes 1996–2013 17 9 0 8 52.94% 465 27.35 472 48-14 (4 May 2013) 64-32 (16 Mar 1997) 4 0
Brumbies 1996–2013 18 7 0 11 38.89% 464 25.78 544 50-32 (20 Feb 2010) 73-9 (27 Mar 1999) 0 1
Stormers 1996–2013 21 9 1 11 42.86% 509 24.24 455 75-14 (28 Apr 2005) 42-19 (27 Feb 1999) 2 1
Cheetahs 1997–2013 12 11 0 1 91.67% 421 35.08 279 60-20 (17 May 2008) 35-23 (16 May 1997) 1 3
Force 2006–13 7 4 0 3 57.14% 188 26.86 162 36-26 (2 Mar 2013) 30-27 (16 Feb 2007) 0 0
Rebels 2011–12 2 2 0 0 100.00% 88 44.00 45 47-10 (14 May 2011) 35-41 (4 May 2012) 2 0
Kings 2013 2 2 0 0 100.00% 82 41.00 18 48-18 (29 Jun 2013) 18-48 (29 Jun 2013) 1 0
Overall 1996–2013 234 116 7 111 49.57% 6132 26.21 6296 92–3 vs Reds (2007) 75–27 vs Crusaders (2000) 18 13

Individual[edit]

Record Held by
Most appearances 124 by Morné Steyn (2005– 30 July 2013)
Most consecutive appearances 99 by Pedrie Wannenburg (19 April 2003 – 31 May 2010)
Oldest player 37 years 134 days by Johan le Roux (27 March 1999)
Most points 1467 by Morné Steyn (2005 – 30 July 2013 – 124 games)
Most tries 37 by Bryan Habana (2005–09) 2nd Akona Ndungane 33 tries (2005–14)
Most conversions 234 by Morné Steyn (2005–13 – 119 games)
Most penalty kicks 263 by Morné Steyn (2005–13 – 119 games)
Most drop goals 25 by Morné Steyn (2005–13, 119 games)
Most appearances as captain 60 by Victor Matfield (2004–11)

Match[edit]

Record Held by
Biggest victory and the biggest home victory. 92–3 (v. Queensland Reds, 2007)
Largest points for 92 (v Queensland Reds, 2007)
Biggest defeat 9–73 (v ACT Brumbies, 1999)
Most points conceded 75 (v Crusaders, 2000)
Most tries: 13 (v Queensland Reds, 2007)
Most tries conceded 11 (v Crusaders, 2000)
Most points by a player 35 by Morné Steyn (v Stormers, 2005, v Brumbies 2010)
Most tries by a player 3 by Fourie du Preez (v Cats, 2004)
Most conversions by a player 11 by Derick Hougaard (v Queensland Reds, 2007)
Most penalties by a player 8 by Jannie de Beer (versus Highlanders, 1996, then Northern Transvaal)
8 by Derick Hougaard (versus Crusaders, 2007)
Most drop goals by a player 4 by Morné Steyn (v Crusaders, 2009)

Winning Streaks[edit]

Record Held by
Most consecutive victories 12 (25 April 2009 – 27 March 2010)
Most consecutive home victories 20 (19 April 2008 – 5 March 2011)

Season[edit]

Record Held by
Most points 500 (2010)
Most points by a player 263 by Morné Steyn (2010 – Super Rugby record)
Most team tries 51 (2010)
Most tries by a player 11 by Bjorn Basson (2012)
Most conversions by a player 38 by Morné Steyn (2010)
Most penalty kicks by a player 51 Morné Steyn (2010 – Super Rugby Record)
Most drop goals by a player 11 by Morné Steyn (2009, Super Rugby Record)

Honours[edit]

Finals

Season Result Date
2007 Won the final 20 - 19 against the Sharks 19 May 2007
2009 Won the final 61 - 17 against the Chiefs 30 May 2009
2010 Won the final 25 - 17 against the Stormers 29 May 2010

Semi finals

Season Result Date Notes
1996 Lost 11 - 48 to Blues 19 May 1996
2005 Lost 13 - 23 to Waratahs 21 May 2005
2006 Lost 15 - 35 to Crusaders 20 May 2006
2013 Lost 23 - 26 to Brumbies 27 July 2013 South African conference winners

Qualifiers

Season Result Date
2012 Lost 13 - 28 to Crusaders 21 July 2012

Season-by-Season Standings[edit]

Super 10[edit]

Super 10 Results
Year Place Played Win Draw Loss PF PA Diff BP Points Playoffs
1993 3rd 4 2 0 2 109 109 0 0 8
1994 Did not qualify
1995 Did not qualify

Super 12[edit]

Super 12 Results
Year Place Played Win Draw Loss PF PA Diff BP Points Playoffs
1996 4th 11 8 0 3 329 208 +121 6 38 Lost semi-final 48-11 to Auckland Blues.
1997 8th 11 3 3 5 264 342 −78 4 22
1998 11th 11 3 0 8 249 306 −57 4 16
1999 12th 11 1 0 10 203 447 −244 3 7
2000 11th 11 1 2 8 231 395 −164 3 11
2001 12th 11 2 0 9 241 378 −137 3 11
2002 12th 11 0 0 11 232 500 −268 1 1
2003 6th 11 6 0 5 320 354 −34 5 30
2004 6th 11 5 1 5 302 320 −18 6 28
2005 3rd 11 7 0 4 301 229 +72 6 34 Lost semi-final 23–13 to Waratahs .

Super 14[edit]

Super 14 Results
Year Place Played Win Draw Loss PF PA Diff BP Points Playoffs
2006 4th 13 7 1 5 355 290 +65 8 38 Lost semi-final 35–15 to Crusaders.
2007 1st 15 11 0 4 435 254 +181 6 42 Defeated the Sharks 19–20
2008 10th 13 6 0 7 324 347 −23 4 28
2009 1st 15 12 0 3 435 311 +124 6 46 Defeated the Chiefs 61-17
2010 1st 13 10 0 3 436 345 +91 7 47 Defeated the Stormers 25-17

Super Rugby[edit]

Super Rugby Results
Year Place Played Win Draw Loss PF PA Diff BP Points Playoffs South African conference
2011 7th 16 10 0 6 416 370 +46 6 54 3rd
2012 5th 16 10 0 6 472 369 +103 11 59 Lost qualifiers 28-13 to the Crusaders. 2nd
2013 2nd 16 12 0 4 448 330 +118 7 63 Lost semi final 23-26 to the Brumbies. 1st (winners)
2014 9th 16 7 1 8 365 335 +30 8 38 2nd

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rugby-Bulls blitz Reds 92–3 to earn home semi-final". Reuters. 2007-05-05. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  2. ^ "Sports stadiums in South Africa". SouthAfrica.info. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  3. ^ "Loftus Versfeld – History". Vodacom Blue Bulls. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  4. ^ http://sport.iafrica.com/news/783571.html
  5. ^ http://www.supersport.com/rugby/super-rugby/news/120311/Bulls_come_down_hard_on_fan
  6. ^ "Three extend contracts as Vodacom Bulls get ready for 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season." (Press release). Bulls. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "1996 Northern Transvaal Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "1997 Blue Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "1998 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "1999 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "2000 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "2001 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "2002 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "2003 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "2004 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "2005 Bulls Super 12 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "2006 Bulls Super 14 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "2007 Bulls Super 14 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "2008 Bulls Super 14 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "2009 Bulls Super 14 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "2010 Bulls Super 14 season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "2011 Bulls Super Rugby season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "2012 Bulls Super Rugby season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "2013 Bulls Super Rugby season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
2006Crusaders
Super 14 Champions
2007 (first title)
Succeeded by
2008Crusaders
Preceded by
2008Crusaders
Super 14 Champions
2009
Succeeded by
2010 – Bulls
Preceded by
2009 – Bulls
Super 14 Champions
2010
Succeeded by
2011