Battle of the back-threes at Loftus

Blue Bulls (supplied)
Blue Bulls (supplied)

Pretoria – The tussle of the two back-threes will be one of the most enticing mini-battles in the Currie Cup semi-final between the Blue Bulls and Western Province in Pretoria on Friday.

The Bulls surprised all and sundry with their enterprising play and key to their attacking success has been their back-three combination of Warrick Gelant, Jamba Ulengo and Travis Ismaiel.

Western Province in turn have the recognised combination of Cheslin Kolbe, Dillyn Leyds and Seabelo Senatla that are equally destructive with the ball in hand.

Bulls fullback Gelant have been a revelation this season as he made the step-up to senior rugby with aplomb, directing play with tactical awareness.

The 20-year-old is the youngest player in the Bulls backline but has shown a maturity that belies his years both through his tactical kicking and the way he links with the rest of the backline.

However, Gelant did not feel like the junior in the team and believes the fact that the Bulls had forged into a tight-knit group was key to their success this season.

“For me as a youngster coming in was quite big for me but I had two senior guys with me and we’ve created a great friendship off the field,” Gelant said.

“At the end of the day it is our friendship that comes out on the field. The thing that makes us special is the way we learn from each other.

“I’ve never felt the youngest player in the team so I think that is what makes us special, treating each other the same and I need to give the senior players credit for that.”

On a personal note, Gelant said he was working towards becoming a complete fullback but was well aware that he would not be able to do that without some guidance from his team-mates.

“I want that balance, I don’t want to be seen as a one-dimensional player, my wings help me,” he said.

“Although people see me with the ball it is my wingers and centres that talk to me and point out the space behind and where to attack.”

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