for quality writing

Ken Borland

If you are a Bulls fan of old, you would not believe this fullback selection 0

Posted on May 26, 2022 by Ken

If you are used to some of the Bulls sides of old, you would not believe it but current coach Jake White has prioritised a counter-attacking fullback, which is why he has shifted wing Canan Moodie to No.15, in place of the injured Kurt-Lee Arendse, for their United Rugby Championship clash with Glasgow Warriors at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

Arendse, who has shown marvellous ball skills and the ability to regularly ghost past defenders on his way to seven tries in this season’s tournament, fractured his thumb last weekend against Benetton Treviso. White described it on Thursday as a relatively minor injury similar to the one that kept Stormers star Warrick Gelant out for a few weeks.

“Kurt-Lee got injured in the 60th minute and then after the game he felt his hand was a bit sore after the adrenalin wore off. He came to training on Monday and the hand was a bit bruised,” White explained.

“The scans showed a little hairline fracture at the bottom of the thumb and he had a screw put in which should help the bone heal quicker, hopefully it gets him back on the field sooner.

“It’s an injury like Warrick had, with the associated ligament damage, which could take four-to-six weeks, but hopefully sooner because Kurt-Lee is very important to us.

“The way we attack requires a different kind of fullback to say a David Kriel, Kurt-Lee’s type of fullback has worked well for us. And the competition as a whole has shown that a fullback that can attack from the back works – for example Warrick,” White said.

The well-travelled World Cup winning coach likes the idea of backs who can play in several different positions, and the versatile James Verity-Amm comes in on the right wing to replace Moodie, while former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks will continue his midfield partnership with Lionel Mapoe, with specialist inside centre Harold Vorster on the bench upon his return from a positive Covid test.

“Canan has run a few times at fullback in training and James can play both fullback and wing. It’s a good opportunity to see how Canan goes at fullback with mature and older wings around him in James and Madosh Tambwe,” White said.

“In the 2003 World Cup, Australia played Latham, Roff, Rogers, Larkham and Burke, who were all fullbacks. If you’re good enough, you should be able to play anywhere.

“It’s just about balancing the combinations, and the number on your back is not important in multi-phase attack. Jonah Lomu played eighthman at school and was one of the greatest wings ever.

“Tiaan Strauss and Morne du Plessis both played fullback and centre before moving into the pack; Danie Craven played in a handful of positions for South Africa. So it’s nothing new.

“It’s the way the game is going now, the more versatile you are the better. To use a chess analogy, having more Queens would be better that having just Pawns that can only play in certain ways,” White said.

Bulls team:Canan Moodie, James Verity-Amm, Lionel Mapoe, Cornal Hendricks, Madosh Tambwe, Morne Steyn, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. IMPACT-Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dylan Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Cyle Brink, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Harold Vorster.

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