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Ken Borland

Beyond dreams for unprecedented 21 Bulls debutants 0

Posted on July 02, 2021 by Ken

An unprecedented 21 players will make their Currie Cup debut for the Bulls on Saturday as they take on Western Province at Loftus Versfeld in the opening round, but stand-in coach Pine Pienaar believes his rookies will give absolutely everything as they get to play in a North/South derby that would have been beyond their immediate dreams.

Nine of those players are not even in the Bulls structures and have had to be called in from club rugby. The extraordinary selection – for surely one of the most important games of the Currie Cup – has been forced on the Bulls because they have 28 players in Italy for the Rainbow Cup final, four are with the Springboks, four are unavailable due to injury, two are on duty with the Blitzboks and six have been called up by the Junior Springboks.

But there are still a couple of familiar faces in the team as highly-rated loosehead prop Simphiwe Matanzima will finally make his return after 10 months out with a torn achilles tendon and Richard Kriel, younger brother of David, will want to show what he can do at fullback. And TV viewers will get the eye-popping experience of seeing gigantic prop Mhleli Dlamini in the flesh when he comes off the bench.

“We see it as a reward for the guys at the clubs, in Varsity Cup or in our juniors who have done well. It’s going to be an unbelievable privilege for them to play in a North/South Currie Cup derby, everyone is looking forward to the challenge and that’s what we’ve spoken about with them. After we had a session just to get to know each other …

“These guys never thought in their wildest dreams that they would be playing for the Bulls now. We’ve prepared as best we can from last week and there’s an unbelievable atmosphere in the team because they all want to create an impression and express themselves. The one definite is that they will put in a massive effort and we’ll stay in the fight for as long as we can,” Pienaar said on Thursday.

Despite the difficulties involved in getting a team drawn from so many different parts to gel together, Pienaar says the Bulls will have a holistic game-plan against Western Province.

“I think we have a good combination between forwards and backs and we will try to attack space with ball-in-hand. There will be a lot of mistakes, but we won’t be looking at the scoreboard, it’s about getting our processes right and the guys will definitely go out and give it their all,” Pienaar said.

Bulls: Richard Kriel, Sebastiaan Jobb, Sango Xamlashe (Captain), Louritz van der Schyff, Kefentse Mahlo, Jandre Burger, Johan Mulder, Jaco Bezuidenhout, Jaco Labuschagne, Henco Beukes, Tiaan de Klerk, JJ Scheepers, Francois Klopper, Werner Fourie, Simphiwe Matanzima. Bench -Llewelyn Classen, Dewald Donald, Mhleli Dlamini, Adolph Visser, Eduan Lubbe, Tiaan Fourie, Kabelo Mokoena, Niel Beukes.

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