Bok squad shockwave

2011-06-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The shockwaves that rippled through South African rugby this week with the announcement of a reduced squad for a Springbok planning session may well have an influence on today’s Super Rugby derby between the Stormers and Bulls at Newlands.

Francois Louw, Ricky Januarie (both Stormers), Bjorn Basson, Zane Kirchner, Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter (all Bulls) all have good reason to be concerned about their omission.

There was also bad news for the Stormers’ Peter Grant and CJ van der Linde, but they are on the injured list and therefore won’t be in action at Newlands this weekend.

“It has not at all been discussed in our camp, but if I were in those players’ shoes it would just have motivated me to play better and prove to the selectors that I should be there,” said Stormers backline coach Robbie Fleck.

Basson’s omission in particular is a major talking point. This year alone he has equalled Bryan Habana’s Bulls record of nine tries in a season.

“I was quite surprised because Bjorn has been showing the form he produced in last year’s Currie Cup.

“He’s an opportunist and finishes well, but the selectors probably had their reasons,” said Fleck when asked about the prolific try-scorer, who will be a major threat to the Stormers.

However, it’s not just established players that will be motivated to do their best at Newlands today.

Kurt Coleman (21) will start at flyhalf in Grant’s absence and will be in a duel with the Bulls’ Springbok star, Morné Steyn.

Fleck said he will still be having a chat with Coleman before the match.

A clash with the Bulls at a packed Newlands will be the most pressure the young flyhalf has experienced to date in his career.

He did play very well in last weekend’s match against the Rebels.

“We have left him alone until now so that he can relax a bit after the tour,” said Fleck.

“He prefers to be laid-back and chilled and our discussions with him have been about what we expect from him at a tactical level. He just wants to play and is excited about the opportunity.

“It’s actually the same with all our young players — they are not intimidated about the prospect of playing the Blues in Auckland or the Bulls at Newlands.”

Fleck observes that the Bulls have recovered from a poor start and are focusing on their traditional strengths.

“It’s all about physicality and pressure in the set-phases.

“They will definitely look to put us under pressure there.”

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