FS don’t fear Bulls jumpers

2011-07-22 00:00

FREE State are preparing as if the Blue Bulls line-out play will still be of ‘A-team’ standard in the absence of a number of Springbok stars.

Big names like Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Flip van der Merwe, Danie Rossouw and Pierre Spies may not appear in the Bulls 22-man squad, but their understudies are viewed as line-out jumpers of similar standard.

Bulls number-eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze, flank Dewald Potgieter and locks Juandré Kruger and Fudge Mabeta, are all lineout forwards who won’t let down a Super Rugby side.

Therefore, experience counted for a lot when Free State coach Naka Drotské decided on his hooker for tomorrow’s Currie Cup match at Lofus Versfeld.

PW van Vuuren, who already made his Currie Cup debut for Free State in 2008, has been picked at hooker, ahead of

Baby Bok Michael van Vuuren.

Van Vuuren represented the South African Schools team in 2006, and in 2008 represented the Baby Boks in Wales.

Van Vuuren grabbed his Currie Cup chance against Griquas last year, and often shone for the Griffons as a loan player, after which a neck operation sidelined him for five months.

He is looking hungry and motivated to grab his opportunity, in the absence of Adriaan Strauss.

“We certainly won’t underestimate the Bulls in the line-outs, but they also don’t intimidate us,” Van Vuuren said.

“They are all players who we have played alongside or against earlier in our careers, so they certainly won’t intimidate us. I think it helps us that Victor and the other Boks aren’t playing.”

Tomorrow’s duel with experienced Bok Gary Botha, will be the biggest test of Van

Vuuren’s s career.

Botha likes to impose himself physically on opponents, and won’t show his younger adversary any mercy. However, if Van Vuuren stands his ground physically, and performs well in the loose, it may cause the Bulls serious headaches.

“I’m not a player who focuses on my opponent. I prefer to focus on what I need to do, and what is in the best

interests of the team. I have waited a long time for this opportunity — about five years. I’m very excited about my

inclusion in the starting line-up.”

Free State also have to manage without leading line-out forwards Wilhelm Steenkamp (lock) and Juan Smith (flank).

However, locks Francois Uys and Waltie Vermeulen, as well as flank Lappies Labuschagné, offer them enough options in that department.

TEAMS:

Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Stephan Dippenaar, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Gerhard van den Heever, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Dustin Jinka, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Derick Kuün, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Fudge Mabeta, 3 Rossouw

de Klerk, 2 Gary Botha (captain), 1 Corné Fourie.

Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Okkie Kruger, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Francois Venter

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Andries Strauss (capt), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de

Bruyn, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7

Lappies Labuschagné, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.

Substitutes: 16 Michael van

Vuuren, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19

Pieter Myburgh, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Philip Burger.

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