We have picked what we believe to be a strong side for our match against the Bulls at Loftus
We have made some tactical selections to ensure our bench substitutes match the effect that the Bulls bench has on the game. They are very strong in the last quarter and we will need to match them here.
CJ starts on the bench in jersey 17, with Brok and Wicus in jerseys 3 and 1 respectively. CJ was in excellent form at tighthead last week. He is an important member of the team and has a specific role to play off the bench in the game. Brok is fully fit again and given JC’s injury, Wicus who is hungry to play, gets an opportunity. Ethienne Reyneke (Saracens and ex Lions hooker) is in at 16. He has a lot of Super Rugby experience and that is what we need off the bench this week.
In the backline – Jaque Fourie gets his second start of the season in the 13 jersey, whilst Juan moves to the bench. It is fantastic to have 3 world class centres. Juan offers a lot from the bench in this game and has started 2 games already.
Not having a Schalk is a blow to any team. He has great experience such as from last year’s final. We would have loved to have him there, but I have great confidence in Pieter, Nick and Francois. Schalk is almost ready to come back and will be in the mix next weekend against the Force. He started running and I am pleased with how it went. It remains important to have our captain as part of the squad and he will be up with us at Loftus.
Since Peter Grant has been back, he is a changed person. He is all together wiser and is so composed and professional. He gives his all for the team and makes a great contribution. Hopefully he can continue his excellent goal kicking form. It is great to have him, with Gary under his wing, in the squad.
The Bulls are going to be tough. Whenever you play at Loftus, you can’t expect to rock up there and have an easy game. They come off a loss to the Highlanders and will be hungry to set the record straight.
As a team, we need to look at ourselves and try and improve each week. Defensively we did well last week, but we want to improve on attack. Whilst we are not 100% happy, we feel that we are not far off with the attack. Against every side there are opportunities to attack. Hopefully we will get the opportunity to use what we have worked on this week. The Bulls however are very solid defensive side and they will come out and improve on their Highlanders clash. We have played plenty of games against the Bulls and we know what is coming. Hopefully we can capitalise on our opportunities.
It is going to be a tough challenge in Pretoria, but it is one we are looking forward to. The Bulls always come out strong after adversity, but we know what our plans are and are looking forward to the challenge.
Gio Aplon, Danie Poolman, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Pieter Louw, Andries Bekker, Rynhardt Elstadt. Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, CJ van der Linde, De Kock Steenkamp, Nick Koster, Ricky Januarie, Gary van Aswegen, Juan de Jongh