Bulls on brink of trophy success Marco van Staden

When Vodacom Bulls flanker Marco van Staden this week alluded to the long wait that Bulls fans have had to see their team lift a trophy, a few eyebrows may have been raised.

Because while the Bulls did lift Currie Cup trophies in 2020 and 2021, as well as a “Super Rugby Unlocked trophy in 2020”, there tends to be an asterix attached to these victories when they are considered by serious rugby fans.

And what Van Staden was alluding to was the fact that fans weren’t in the stadiums for those campaigns due to Covid, and if they were, they were severely restricted.

The same goes for the Vodacom Bulls run in the inaugural Rainbow Cup – where they lost in the final to Benetton in Italy and the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship, where they lost to the DHL Stormers in Cape Town in front a crowd reduced to 50 percent capacity because of Covid restrictions at the time.

Before that, you would have to go a long way back to find the last time a Loftus Versfeld crowd saw a Bulls team lift a trophy on home soil.

Because, despite the initial success under Jake White during the Covid times, the Bulls fans have not been treated to anything close to what they will experience during the final today for more than a decade.

As the sold out signs prepare to go up around the stadium for the massive final, the last time this happened was in the Currie Cup of 2009.

On that day the Bulls beat a tough Free State Cheetahs outfit 36-24 to add to their Super Rugby title a few months earlier, also at Loftus.

And while the team also added a third Super Rugby title (their first was in 2007 in Durban) in 2010, the preparations for the Football World Cup meant that the game was played in Soweto at Orlando Stadium.

Those two weeks in 2010 – where the Bulls first defeated the Crusaders and then the Stormers in the final – are etched in history as two of the most remarkable weeks in nation building in South African rugby history, and certainly will never be forgotten by those who were there.

Yet, the last time Loftus Versfeld was full for a final was in 2009, for that Currie Cup victory and since then the Bulls have not been able to host a game in front of a full house to claim a trophy.

They have had sporadic full houses – the games against the Stormers are always either close to a sellout or as we saw earlier this year, a full house of fans supporting their team.

The Bulls were, of course, also in the running for a Super Rugby final in the 2013 season, when White’s Brumbies side shocked them at Loftus with a late try by Tevita Kuridrani.

But the period between 2010 and 2020 was a decade of near misses, rebuilding and losing players in droves as some decisions taken in that time defied belief and contributed to the side not hitting their peak on the field.

Since White has taken over the Bulls did claim the Currie Cup title twice – both in Covid times – and that Super Rugby Unlocked title. But the trophy they really want is the URC title.

And they finally have a chance this weekend to claim it. – SuperSport.

You Might Also Like