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Ken Borland

Ospreys have top scrum, Bulls have intel from someone who scaled heights of Welsh rugby

Posted on June 20, 2022 by Ken

The Ospreys showed at Ellis Park recently that they have a top scrum, but the Bulls are confident of handling them in their United Rugby Championship match in Swansea on Friday night thanks to the intel provided to them by someone who scaled the heights of Welsh rugby.

Former Springbok tighthead prop Werner Kruger is the Bulls scrum consultant and he also played 122 times for Scarlets, being a key figure in their 2016/17 side that won the Pro12, the Celtic league that was the precursor to the URC.

“It really helps having Werner Kruger in our camp, he is someone who recently played in Wales, so he knows their mindset,” Bulls prop Gerhard Steenekamp said on Tuesday.

“All that information helps and our scrum is something we have really worked on. Now that we have played longer together as a tight five, we’ve got our rhythm.

“Ospreys have a good pack, but we’ve done our prep and we can only give our best. And in terms of adapting to the referee, if we don’t do anything wrong then he can’t penalise us,” Steenekamp said.

Ospreys are looking to win the Welsh Shield in the URC and a place in the lucrative Champions Cup, and are currently level with Scarlets on 44 points, so Friday night’s clash is a massive match for them as well.

They have lost to all three of the other South African franchises, with their heaviest defeat coming against the Lions at Ellis Park. They were beaten 45-15 at the end of March, but the one aspect of the game where Ospreys did come out on top was in the scrum, against a powerful Lions set-piece.

Since then there has been a far more celebratory mood in the Swansea Stadium offices as Ospreys have enjoyed putting 50 points on the board in back-to-back matches against the Dragons and Scarlets and they held their annual awards evening during the last week as well.

The Bulls, meanwhile, are just happy that the weather along the south-west coast of Wales is good.

“The weather is not bad at all,” Steenekamp said. “It’s nearly the same temperature as Pretoria was when we left. The last time we played in Europe it was in midwinter compared to coming from our midsummer.

“We haven’t really changed our touring plans since then, but we have grown a lot as a squad – both in our game and as players,” Steenekamp said.

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