It will be easy to write off the Bulls or some individual players who did not perform up to expectations. These matches must be seen for what it is, practise matches where the selectors can evaluate the players not on their talent but more on how they would fit in with the game plan preferred by the Union.
And this is my first problem - players forced to play a game plan that does not fit in with the "style" of the players that made them stars. I presume this was these boy's first taste of professional rugby. Myself, very "old" in the rugby I prefer, saw some very talented and "hard" boys standing on the pitch so far from the action that his strength and talent is wasted and will most probably never be utilised in the correct manner. Just my two cents.
The Bulls' problems started up front where their front row was really pushed all over by the strong Lions pack. Keegan Glade of KES was a monster here and must be a certainty for the SA School's side. The choice of the Bulls loosehead prop is questionable to say the least, as Wihan Bezuidenhout loosehead of Affies is wasted as a tight head in the B team. The locks of the Bulls was overshadowed in the lineouts and also not to be seen in the loose. But a glimmer of hope must be the Bulls loosies who were excellent on the ground.
At the back, the quality and class of the Lions completely overshadowed all the Bulls could offer in defence and attack. But I do not think that the Lions backline would do a lot better playing with a pack like the Bulls played with in the A team.
All gloom for the Bulls? Definitely not and I do believe that the Bulls are either hiding their real team or their squad is not finalised and the best players was scattered between the A, B and C sides. There is certainly enough talent in Pretoria to give the best in the country a run for their money but this year a lot more will be asked from the coaching staff to make the Bulls great again at the Craven Week.
Easy going for the Lions? Definitely not and I do believe that in order to allow their stars up front to run at their opponents they need more hard men. The forwards of the Bulls as played yesterday will be the worst they will face during the Craven Week. Stars like Travis Gordon and Mark Snyman, yep he was brilliant, who is deadly running from broken play will not be able to play their natural game if their tight five is in trouble. Only Keegan Glade and Cristen van Niekerk is known as hard boys and they were the only two tough ones last night both staking their claims for higher honours.
And just to make all involved think, I would move Luke Rossouw from Monnas back to fly-half in the A team. Just a thought.
A: Bulls 7-41 Lions, B: Bulls 26-14 Lions 14, C: Bulls 31-14 Lions, D: Bulls 19-12 Lions, E side: Lions 38-12 Bulls