Bulls bank on experience to end Currie Cup drought

2014-08-07 15:11

The Bulls will start their campaign to end a five-year Currie Cup title drought with a more settled outfit than in recent years when they take on the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

“It is the best continuity we’ve had in years because, before, we had a lot of players leaving just before the Currie Cup started,” coach Frans Ludeke said at the team announcement in Pretoria today.

“This season there are a lot of positives. We’re almost taking the same squad [as in Super Rugby] into the Currie Cup and there are still a few youngsters.”

Ludeke named 21-year-old Burger Odendaal at inside centre, where he will make his Currie Cup debut.

“Burger played well against the Pumas. He had a very good Vodacom Cup and Varsity Cup as well, so he’s been one of the players who has been waiting for that opportunity,” Ludeke said.

“We’re playing against a good side but that is exactly what you want to have – a true test.”

Bulls captain Deon Stegmann, Odendaal and flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter were the only players in the match-day 22 who did not feature in last year’s competition.

Stegmann, who has been the Bulls’ sharpest weapon at the breakdown area, should remedy the serious issues the team had there during the Super Rugby season.

Also included in the side were promising youngsters Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Jesse Kriel, who could make their debuts playing off the bench.

Bulls team: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Burger Odendaal, Sampie Mastriet, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Piet van Zyl, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jono Ross, Deon Stegmann (captain), Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Marcel van der Merwe, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Wiaan Liebenberg, Rudy Paige, Tony Jantjies and Jesse Kriel.

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