- It took only three weeks for the Bulls to promote the exciting Elrigh Louw to their starting team.
- Bulls skipper Duane Vermeulen has praised the 20-year-old flanker's willingness to learn and his immediate impact.
- The powerful Loftus loose trio is a fascinating contrast to a Sharks combination that seemingly focuses more on skill and guile.
The decision to act swiftly in securing Elrigh Louw is already bearing fruit for the Bulls.
Secured less than a week after the Southern Kings went into voluntary liquidation back in August, the gifted 20-year-old loose forward will make his first start for his new franchise in their Super Rugby Unlocked clash with the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.
A 1.95m, 112kg behemoth, former Junior Springbok Louw made a huge difference as a replacement to a flagging Bulls effort two weeks ago against Griquas, gaining 51 running metres that included beating three defenders and making a linebreak.
It's the type of punch they lacked at times in last week's loss to the Cheetahs.
Duane Vermeulen, Bulls skipper and fellow hulking flanker, is relishing the opportunity to combine with him in a loose trio the more nimble but still uncompromising Marco van Staden.
"I've seen Elrigh train with the squad for some weeks now since he's arrived and he's brought great energy," said the Springbok veteran.
"He's still very young but he's such a confident player."
15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe
That was indeed evident in a showing a fortnight ago that oozed fearlessness.
"Elrigh loves to carry the ball and loves to defend," said Vermeulen.
"He's really like a sponge at the moment. He's been picking up on the small details and is a really exciting player. I'm really looking forward to playing with him in a combination."
Bulls mentor Jake White's emphasis on power and precision is in fascinating contrast to the Durbanites' assembled trio, which can be considered to lean more towards skill and guile.
That renders the battle between Vermeulen and arguably his sternest Springbok competitor, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, one to look forward to.
"I played with Notsh at the Stormers. He's grown a lot as a No 8," said Vermeulen.
"He was one of the Sharks' star players in Super Rugby before lockdown. I know what he can offer. It's going to be a really good match-up."