Bok quartet boost Bulls
Brenden Nel
supersport.com
October 11, 2018

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be boosted by a quartet of Springboks as they prepare for their Currie Cup showdown with a rampant DHL Western Province this coming weekend at Loftus Versfeld.

Tighthead Trevor Nyakane, flanker Marco van Staden and halfbacks Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier all return to the match day 23 for the game, which is their final league match for the season ahead of the playoffs.

Considering they are lying in a precarious third spot, they could well need to draw on all the experience against a WP team who have swept all before them this season.

Interestingly Van Zyl gets the nod ahead of Papier at halfback, with his experience winning the day, but both the latter and Van Staden will make their first appearances in the Bulls jersey in this year’s Currie Cup.

Coach Pote Human believes the quartet have added value and brought excitement to the camp in a crucial stage of the competition.

“Definitely. They are very positive, they want to play and they want some game time, because none of them really played the last few weeks,” Human said.

“Embrose had six or seven minutes last week. They are excited to play and they lift the whole spirit of the team. I’m really looking forward to this weekend."

Human said that while it was a tough choice between his two Bok halfbacks, Van Zyl’s all-round game and experience got him the nod.

“It is just Ivan’s experience with this young team is what we needed and Embrose will make a huge impact from the bench,” Human added.

With Province coming to Loftus as firm favourites after putting 50 on the Sharks in their last game, the Bulls will be up against it. But they need not worry about the motivation factor, which is certainly not lacking ahead of the traditional north-south derby.

“If you are not motivated to play against Province at Loftus, then you don’t belong here,” Human told the players this week.

“They are really motivated for this one. It is a big one for us. Depending on what happens tomorrow night, it may be a must-win for us to go through to the semis. Everyone knows the importance of this game.”

Human said there was all to play for on their home ground.

“We certainly have everything to play for and need all capable hands on deck, so the availability of the four players is very welcome.

“We are facing a formidable WP side who will also have some Springboks back. They are already in the semifinals, so they will play without fear and that will make them a very dangerous opponent. They are a very skilful team with lots of game breakers and our defence will be tested.”

The return of Van Staden will be crucial in this regard and Blue Bulls captain Hanro Liebenberg said forward dominance will be an important factor in the clash.

“We will have to dictate the style of play and tempo if we want to be successful. They are quite adept on the counter, so ball possession will be key if we want to secure the win we need to confirm a semifinal spot. It is nice to have those four players back and we will be looking at them to provide momentum and confidence.”

The Blue Bulls team for Saturday (with Currie Cup caps and points) is:

15. Divan Rossouw (8, 5), 14. Jamba Ulengo (38, 125), 13. Johnny Kotze (39, 35), 12. Franco Naude (5, 5), 11. Jade Stighling (14, 25), 10. Manie Libbok (9, 66), 9. Ivan van Zyl (22, 30), 8. Hanro Liebenberg (c; 18, 20), 7. Marco van Staden (6, 5), 6. Ruan Steenkamp (14, 25), 5. Eli Snyman (4, 0), 4. Hendre Stassen (5, 0), 3. Trevor Nyakane (28, 10), 2. Jaco Visagie (32, 10), 1. Matthys Basson (12, 0),

Replacements:

16. Edgar Marutlulle (55, 45), 17. Dayan van der Westhuizen (17, 15), 18. Ruan Nortje (5, 0), 19. Nic de Jager (22, 15), 20. Embrose Papier (0, 0), 21. Tinus de Beer (6, 20), 22. Dylan Sage (2, 0)