Bulls to put rebuilt senior structure to test against the Stormers
Bulls captain Lood de Jager will draw on the experience of senior players like Schalk Brits‚ Duane Vermeulen‚ Jesse Kriel‚ Handre Pollard and Trevor Nyakane during the Super Rugby season. where they are looking to reach the knockout stages.
The highly experienced Brits and Vermeulen arrived recently at Loftus as part of the rebuilding process under coach Pote Human and they will be part of the leadership group that also includes Springbok stars Pollard‚ Kriel‚ RG Snyman and Trevor Nyakane.
“The last couple of years we have had talented sides but we lacked a bit of experience here and there. This year we have a good blend of experience and youth and it is up to us to stick to our processes and execute our plans very well in matches‚” De Jager said this week as the Bulls prepared for the friendly against the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday.
“We also have to prepare well because that is an important part of a successful team. Guys like Duane‚ Schalk‚ Handre and Jesse and a few other senior players bring a lot of experience to this team.”
Human agreed with his skipper that Vermeulen and Brits are going to play an important role for the Bulls.
“They must just be themselves and they will help Lood a lot with their experience because they are also leaders in the Springbok setup.
“It is good to have them here and I am looking forward to seeing them against the Stormers this weekend‚ which is where they came from‚” said Human‚ adding that he has a near-full squad for Sunday’s clash.
“All of the players are available except for RG Snyman who was operated on Wednesday‚ and he is out for eight weeks‚ and Jason Jenkins is not available because of a family commitment.
“We need game time and I will give all the guys opportunities to play against the Stormers. Duane and Schalk are professional players and they have fitted in easily since they have arrived.”
De Jager added that Sunday’s friendly against bitter rivals the Stormers is the beginning of a long and important season that will culminate with the World Cup in Japan later in the year.
“There are no guaranteed places in the Bok team and the previous World Cup was a good example of that. It is going to be about players who are on form and if you are not in form at Super Rugby you will not be on the plane that is going to Japan‚” he said.
“It is important for players to raise their hands in Super Rugby to get a good start and take it into the international season.
“Looking at the Stormers match‚ there is no such thing as a friendly against any of the South African sides. It is never easy because the North v South derby has a lot of history behind it.
“They have been great battles between the Stormers and the Bulls in the past and as players we are looking forward to it.”