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Annoyed, Outraged, Furious and Sad Bulls Supporters

Annoyed, outraged, furious and sad…these are just some of the words that come to mind, to mention but a few, especially when you are a #trueblue Vodacom Bulls supporter in 2017.

It’s been almost 7 years and counting since the Bulls or Blue Bulls for that matter have won either a Super Rugby or Currie Cup title and fans and supporters alike are getting, as they would say in plain Afrikaans, GATVOL!

For at least the past two seasons we have had to hear that the team is rebuilding but when you look at how things have gone, besides the 2016 Currie Cup, one sees the complete opposite.

Following their shocking defeat to the Sunwolves in Tokyo this past weekend, we have taken it upon ourselves to speak out on behalf for the millions of supporters around the world that are passionate to wear the jersey and call ourselves Bulls supporters.

Ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby season everyone could not stop talking about the amazing pre-season the Bulls had and their high ambitions to compete this year, and now 6 games later the Bulls have a meagre 6 points to show with 1 scrappy win at Loftus over the Sunwolves, who only had a 17-day pre-season compared to most teams which had at least two months.

On Saturday Captain Adriaan Strauss woefully had to admit in his post-match interview, “We got outplayed most of the game.”  No disrespect to the Sunwolves but the Bulls are three-time Super Rugby Champions and now seven years later we are making excuses week after week.

There is no doubt that we have the players on paper to beat almost anyone in the competition but rugby is played on grass might we remind ourselves.

What has happened to what use to be South Africa’s pride and glory? How could a team with so much talent go to nothing so quick? Where do the real problems of Bulls rugby lie?

Hardly 2 years ago in 2015, I had written a well publicised and much talked about Open Letter to the Bulls, which Blue Bulls Company CEO, Barend van Graan gladly replied to, and a week later the men from the Capital responded in spectacular fashion moving from 13th on the log of 15 teams to 2nd overall within eight weeks and finally losing out on the play-offs. This time I will not be doing the same, as we all know it will only fall on deaf ears and probably get sent to file 13. Either way, I am writing this whether it gets read or not.

Having read, seen and been sent countless articles, jokes, memes and videos on what people think of our team and enough is enough.

Let’s start off by asking why have we lost so many young quality players over the last four seasons? Players like Francois Hougaard, Paul Willemse, Jacques du Plessis, Pierre Spies, Lappies Labuschagne, JJ Engelbrecht, Morne Steyn…not to mention Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Courtnall Skosan, Franco Mostert, Andries Coetzee, Warwick Tecklenburg (who quit rugby this season) all plying their trade down the road with the Emirates Lions with great success. Simple answer, ask Xander Janse van Rensburg, Bulls High Performance Manager. Ask anyone in South African rugby circles who this man is and what his credentials are and all you get is shrugged shoulders. RED LIGHTS!!!!

The Bulls clearly have the money to invest in well blooded coaches with true performance records as they have their own perfume range and coffee brand not to mention all the other gimmicks they offer their diehard fans, yet we settled for a Varsity Cup coach instead.

Many people that know rugby keep asking the question, why is or has Jimmy Stonehouse not been an option for the Bulls? He did after all coach the Bulls Craven Week team on 2 occasions, so Loftus is no unfamiliar place to the man with 27 years of coaching experience. He has vast experience from school level all the way up to International level and his list of accolades far surpass almost any current coach in South Africa, yet he is not an option for Pretoria…yet.

Besides his lists of trophies and achievements, Stonehouse also had a hand in the grooming of current Springboks like Faf de Klerk, Vincent Koch, Uzair Cassiem and Sevens Bok-star Rosco Speckman, not to mention the list of Super Rugby stalwarts like Shaun Venter, Torsten van Jaarsveld and Renaldo Bothma who both are Namibian Internationals as well.

Stonehouse, who was named Coach of the Year in 2013 in South Africa, recently made it known that he longs to return home from Japan where he has been coaching from 2015 with great success. He took Toshiba Brave Lupus (Japan’s most decorated team) for the first time in 10 years to the final of the Japanese Top League in his first season which they ended losing at the death by 1 point.

So what is keeping him out of the corridors of Loftus Versfeld? Is it his no-nonsense approach to what he does? Are his standards too high for rugby in South Africa? If it is then it’s time we close the gates to what was once the most feared rugby venue in the world.

Until recently players and coaches from Currie Cup to International level alike would talk of how tough it is to go to Loftus, now every team salivates at the opportunity to come and beat the Bulls and Boks for that matter.

Stop begging us to come to your games, stop asking people to join your supporters club and stop making your financial problems ours if you aren’t doing anything to change. Support is a two-way street. One of the biggest problems not just at Loftus but in South African rugby is that many of the administrators and officials that are in charge of OUR game, yes rugby belongs to the people, have been in their positions for way too long and have become way to comfortable with the people around them and in the process have forgotten about why they were placed there in the first place. Many of our Unions have become castles with self-ruling kings or even dictatorships and Loftus is one such place.

I’m proud to call myself a Bulls supporter and I’m even a Supporters Club member, which I pay for monthly, yet in almost 2 years I have not benefitted once from anything they offer besides a club members cap, which I was told I need to go to a game to receive it. When I look at other franchise supporter clubs I see way more being done than what the Bulls offer for much less.

For years now supporters and fans of the Bulls have had to endure every joke imaginable under the sun, some funny, some old and some just outright uncalled for, and it’s time the BBC, Bulls management and players take responsibility for the humiliation of the people that adore and cherish them as super stars and ultimately pay their salaries.

Something that once was a cherished opportunity has now become a burden. Will anything be done? Will Coach Nollis and his staff do the right thing and step down? My guess is NO to all of the above and if anything I will probably get banned from Loftus…well so be it then but I will remain a Bull and stand up for my team and their supporters till the day I die!

22 Comments

  1. Werner Groenewald

    April 10, 2017 at 9:05 PM

    My ma het my van rugby geleer… Sy het my geleer om vir die Bulle lief te wees. Sy het my geleer van oom Frik en Naas en Liefling en groot Vic en Bakies en Fourie…. Soveel so dat ek my seun na Morné Steyn vernoem het…

    Ek cherish hierdie span met my hele wese… Vandat ek kon loop is ek mal oor die BLOU MASJIEN… Even daai tyd toe ons nie so goed was nie.. Toe Joosie ons kom red het en ons die Magtige span gemaak het wat super rugby 3 keer gewen het…

    Die eens mees gevreesde span wat die Chiefs op Loftus in n finaal vermorsel het!!!!

    My ma het my alles van hulle geleer en saam my gedeel…

    Sy het Saterdag haar splinternuwe Bloubul hempie vir die tuinjong gegee… Daai een wat sy met trane in haar oee ontvang het aan die begin van die jaar na groot beloftes en verwagting vir 2017 en die nuut geboude span…

    Sy se sy kan net nie meer die vernedering vat nie… Die grapies en die afjou op haar ouderdom jaar na jaar mee verduur nie…. Sy se sy kan ook nie vir n ander span skreeu nie… Want Bloubul sal sy bly in haar hart tot sy doodgaan een dag…. Maar nie hierdie Joke blou bul nie… Die een van Joosie wat tot die bitter einde toe baklei het… Die een vir wie verloor net nie goed genoeg was nie, week na week, jaar na jaar…. .. 😢

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 10, 2017 at 9:15 PM

      Dankie Werner. Hoop daar is meer Bul ondersteuners wat hulle menings hier sal laat en hopelik sien iemand by Loftus dit raak.

    • Hendrik Oosthuizen

      April 12, 2017 at 4:37 PM

      Ek stem 100% saam met jou? Maar ook Nolis het geen “gameplan” nie? Self die spelers lyk nie lus vir rugby speel nie? Waar is die NTVL, Bulle of selfs blou bulle wat skrums, los skrums, dryfmale en lynstane oorsheers het? Almal praat van die nuwe soort game wat gespeel moet word waar elke bal gehardloop moet word? Blykbaar het almal die belangrikste vergeet???? Sonder die bal kan geen span en ek se weer GEEN span iets op die veld reg kry nie? Kom ons begin on die basiese goed reg te kry en die res sal volg? Hier is baie jong talent, moet net in n span onskep word? Dankie Hendrik

      • Jacques Henning

        Jacques Henning

        April 12, 2017 at 5:07 PM

        Dankie vir jou opinie Hendrik en jy slaan die spyker raak al die pad.

  2. Hewitt

    April 11, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Jacques, ek sê al baie lank dat ons groot probleem lê by Xander en die recruitment wat gedoen word by Loftus sedert Ian daar weg is. Ons kan nie die goeie spelers behou nie, en laat gaan goeie jong spelers na ander unies waar hulle op die ou end groot naam maak en briljant speel. Ek het persoonlik al met Xander te doen gehad, en weet watse tipe houding hy het as dit kom by die spelers. Hy het nie ñ clue wat talent is nie, en hy is die hoof rede hoekom ons beste spelers ander heenkome soek. Solank as wat hy en Oom Barend daar by Loftus is, sal dinge nooit weer beter lyk nie!

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 11, 2017 at 12:28 PM

      Vandat ons hierdie artikel vrygestel het kry ons dieselfde kommentaar oor en oor van verkseie oorde en mense en dit maak n mens werklikwaar baie bekommerd. Ons is net bly dat dit nie net ons is wat hierdie dinge agterkom nie. Dankie vir jou kommentaar en hopelik kuier jy gereeld weer op ons website meneer.

  3. Marco Bester

    April 11, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    Very well put

  4. Div Louw

    April 12, 2017 at 1:20 PM

    In vroeg sewentiger jare draf ons trots rond om rugby te oefen op LC de Villers. Tussen Daan DuP, Nic Bez,Slappes Edwards.’n Onder19 Naas Botha drop pale toe van die halflyn af.Wynand Claassen en Bok Moolman koshuis-bure. Ons het rugby gejol, sommer 3 games ‘n dag, almal tweede en derde spanne, maar gemotiveer deur die ysters.Bulle rugby gaan jy kyk en gewonner hoe ver wen hulle vandag, nie of hulle gaan wen nie.
    Ek sal ‘n bul ter aarde bestel word, maar as hulle so aanhou tjommel, hoop ek die aarde sluk my eerder gouer in, dis ‘n blerrie verleentheid man!

  5. Donald

    April 12, 2017 at 2:59 PM

    Goeie artikel om te lees en dit is alles so waar,
    Ek is n season ticket holder, en is deesdea so skaam om dit te noem, nou wil ek net loftus toe gaan omrede daarvoor klaar betaal is anders is dit geld mors.
    Ek kyk na baie besluite van die BBRU en dit maak niks vir my sin nie, hoekom het hulle Handre bo Tiaan gekies, Tiaan was n staatmaker vir ons in die Currie Cup laasjaar en ek voel hy het dit verdien om te begin en homself te verbeter in die game.
    En hoekom het bulle spelers soos Arno terug gebring as hy 99% van die tyd beseer is en een wedstryd n seisoen speel is dit nie dalk tyd om vir hom te se om sy bootse op te hang nie.
    Hoekom laat ons spelers soos SP Marais, Bjorn basson en ander spelers ons verlaat, dan sien ons later hoe hulle die staatmakers word in die ander spanne en soos SP Marais se “Druk n toffee vir bulle”

    As dit so aangaan dan gaan ons self sukkel om die klein spanne soos boland, griffons, border te wen.

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 12, 2017 at 5:01 PM

      Dit is presies ons punt ook Donals en ons waardeer dit baie dat mense soos jy jou mening hier lig. Hoop jy deel hierdie met al jou Bul en anti-Bul vriende want selfs hulle gee om oor ons span al klink dit nooit so nie.

  6. Elize Grensemann

    April 13, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    ONS SIT MET DIE “ROOM”VAN SA RUGBY!!MAAR VERSEKER GROOOOT!!!SKROEF LOS RONDOM BESTUUR!!MISKIEN MOET ONS MAAR SAAMSTAAN EN OOK SOOS RES VAN SA MAAK,PROTES OPTOG REEL EN AANDRING DAT GROOT KOPPE WAAI!!!KRY ONS SPELERS ONGELOWIG WANT BESTUUR SE “GAME PLAN”WORD OP HULLE AFGEDWIG!!!PRAAT UIT MOND VAN BAIE!!BETROUBARE BRON,WAT N SPELER IS WAT JULLE GENOEM HET WAT NOU OORSEE SPEEL!!!

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 13, 2017 at 10:40 PM

      Baie dankie vir jou woorde Elize. Net tyd sal bepaal of Loftus weer horings sal he 🙁

  7. Regterbal

    April 18, 2017 at 10:38 PM

    Dit help nie ons kerm onder mekaar nie….ons sal moet iets daadwerklik doen.

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 19, 2017 at 6:19 PM

      Dit is waar meneer, maar die vraag is wat?

  8. Willem

    April 20, 2017 at 10:37 PM

    ek het 7jaar saam met Nollis klub rugby gespeel en kan met eerlikheid se ek ken hom baie goed as mens as spanmaat en sommer net as iemand wat nie hou van verloor nie. ook na my rugby loopbaan (hoe nietig dit ookal was) sy loopbaan as afrigter gevolg. wat jy vergeet om te noem is dat hy die laaste 8 jaar plus as afrigter geskitter het met elke span wat hy die lysels van gevat het. nie net het hy Tuks 2 jaar na mekaar laat wen teen Maties nie maar die onder 21 span van die Bulle het ook koning gekraai op 2 geleenthede. het Franko Smit nie maar ook met varsity cup sy tande geslyp nie?

    ek is n groot bull ondersteuner. so gebore en sal so dood gaan en my hart skeur elke naweek as ons slae kry.

    tenspyte daarvan wil ek n stelling maak. ek glo Nollis kan daai span omdraai. Ek glo ook hy gaan dit nie in n seisoen of 2 regkry nie en dat hy soo Hyneke van ouds en meer onlangs Akkerman tyd nodig het om sy troepe op te lei en sy spel so in te drill dat dit tweede natuur sal wees om te wen! gee hom die ondersteuning en bystand wat hy en sy afrigtings span kort, en dalk net dalk glimlag ons gouer as wat selfs ons verwag. Saamstaan is sterk staan!

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 21, 2017 at 7:44 AM

      Baie dankie Willem vir jou bydrae en die tyd wat jy gemaak het om die artikel te lees en jou kommentaar te los. Ja ek kon al daardie statistieke genoem het maar wil net noem dat ek nie Nollis as mens of afrigter afgekraak het nie, ek het net gevoel dat n span soos die Bulle sekerlik meer ervaring kon oorweeg het. Ek wil jou wel ondersteun in die feit dat ek glo Nollis kan wel die werk doen, maar om een of ander rede die gevoel kry dat hy nie 100% ondersteun word in sy visie en die tipe game wat HY wil speel nie. Ons almal weet die Unie sal by Nollis staan en tereg moet hulle en bygese hoop ek jy is reg en ons almal glimlag binnekort weer saam.

  9. Willem

    April 21, 2017 at 8:29 AM

    Nee ek besef jy het hom nie persoonlik aangevat nie.ek is seker hy deel ons frustrasie. stem ook met jou 100% saam dat meer ervaring n groot verskil sal maak. vir nou raak ek blesser by die dag soos ek my hare uit my kop uit trek.maar my bloed bly blou. Hou jy ook aan met jou goeie artikels Jacques. ek hou van n ordentlike debat en geniet om dit te lees en ander se oppinies rondom dinge te kry.

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 21, 2017 at 8:39 AM

      Hierdie boodskap beteken baie vir my meneer, want ek weet die Bulle gaan my nie binnekort nooi vir n lemonade nie, maar my passie en liefde vir hierdie span sal my altyd laat aanhou veg vir hulle om die beste te wees en bly. Soos jy gese het, saam staan, sterk staan!

  10. Regterbal

    April 23, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    Jacques, kom ons begin hier……

    This petition represents an opportunity for Bulls and SA rugby supporters to support a movement to bring change and improve Bulls rugby and its administration.
    https://www.petitions24.com/save_bulls_rugby

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 23, 2017 at 12:28 PM

      Dagse Henk, dankie vir hierdie en ons hoop dit werp vrugte af. Hou ons op hoogte asb?

  11. Joe Henning

    April 25, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    Excellent article, Jacques.

    Not having been in South Africa for 6 years (until late August 2016), I lost track of the decline of the Blue Bulls, until I was brought up to date, especially as I couldn’t believe what I saw every time they played. Mention of Joost made me look up a few things and discovered that considering the timeline of decline of the Blue Bulls, it’s interesting that it coincides with Joost’s illness… from onset of his illness and the time until he died is the exact period of time of decline of the mighty BB team!!!

    Ominous, to say the least…

    • Jacques Henning

      Jacques Henning

      April 25, 2017 at 2:06 PM

      Very interesting observation about Joost and team’s decline but surely coincidental?

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