Crusaders fear Bulls' Boks?
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Crusaders captain and flank Matt Todd is expecting a big battle with the Bulls’ pack of forwards when the two teams meet in a Super Rugby Round 13 match in Pretoria on Friday.
The Crusaders boast some powerful All Blacks up front with the likes of prop Joe Moody, hooker Codie Taylor, lock Scott Barrett, captain Todd and All Black captain and No.8 Kieran Read.
The Bulls also have a host of Springboks in their pack with the likes of hooker Schalk Brits, prop Trevor Nyakane, locks Jason Jenkins and Rudolph Snyman, flank Marco van Staden and No.8 Duane Vermeulen.
Speaking to reporters at the Crusaders’ team hotel in Johannesburg, Todd said that his team are bracing themselves for a massive onslaught up front.
“It’s massive. If you don’t win the battle up front it makes it hard for the boys out wide to play, so we know as a forward pack the job we’ve got this week.
“They’ve got a lot of Springboks in their forward pack, so it’s going to be a big battle and you get excited for that – those are the battles you want to be involved in and it’s a great challenge for us,” said Todd.
Vermeulen v Read
One particular battle which supporters will be looking forward to is that of Read coming up against Vermeulen.
Read has a good offloading game with an ability to read a game and link his backs and forwards with a good pass. He also has an eye for the gap and even a side-step.
Vermeulen who surprisingly weighs in at two kilograms lighter then Read at 108 Kilograms to 110 Kilograms is more of a physical ball carrier who is hard to stop on the run and he does plenty of work in securing possession at the breakdown.
Read throughout the 2019 Super Rugby season thus far has an average gain of 4.1 metres which includes 26 carries and 106 metres in the seven games and 260 minutes which he has featured for the Crusaders.
Vermeulen has an average gain of 5.7 metres which includes 53 carries and 301 metres in the 583 minutes of rugby which he has played for the Bulls during their 2019 Super Rugby campaign.
The metres made statistic tells us that Vermeulen has the edge over Read when it comes to being able to get over the advantage line with ball in hand.
Both players defensive statistics have Read as the winner with a 91 percent tackle success rate compared to Vermeulen’s 87 percent tackle success rate.
There is nothing much to separate the two players when it comes to their discipline with Read having conceded eight penalties to Vermeulen’s seven penalties.
These statistics back up Todd’s view that the forwards will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the game on Friday.
By Josh Isaacson