Currie Cup

Bulls' purpose means Currie Cup duty doesn't feel like a 'demotion', says silky Stedman

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Stedman Gans. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
Stedman Gans. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
  • Bulls centre Stedman Gans says the premium the union puts on the Currie Cup means missing out on URC action isn't a frustrating experience.
  • Defending the domestic title tooth-and-nail means the players feel valued and motivated.
  • The former Blitzboks star also now has the added benefit of playing alongside No 12s who bring different skills to the table.

Wednesday's cancellation of the crucial Currie Cup clash between the Sharks and Bulls could easily have spiked frustration levels in most camps, but definitely not at Loftus.

To men like Stedman Gans, the weekend's trip to King's Park was an ideal opportunity to solidify his credentials for some action in the United Rugby Championship following some eye-catching showings over the past few weeks.

His context is of particular interest given that he was an instrumental figure in the Bulls' initial success under director of rugby Jake White, notably in Super Rugby Unlocked before injuries and the signing of Lionel Mapoe pushed him down the pecking order.

Yet the Bulls' laudable and purposeful mission to defend their Currie Cup title by any means possible while juggling URC demands means "the blow has been softened".

"Most guys want to play in a competition where they don't feel like extras or that they're just making up the numbers. They want to feel they're there for a purpose and we're fortunate that coach Jake takes the Currie Cup very seriously," said Gans.

"We're fielding a good side every week in the Currie Cup and that makes it a lot easier to try and grab the opportunity, to put your hand up.

"[Playing in a competitive Currie Cup squad] definitely does soften the blow [of missing out on the URC]. It's good to be a part of that because it's good for the system."

Another upside is that while the former Blitzboks captain and star has formed a great rapport with the wily Cornal Hendricks previously, his midfield partners have been more varied.

"Harold Vorster's a great ball-carrier, he gives go-forward ball, that's his speciality," said Gans.

"That’s what you want from your 12, especially if the game starts becoming static. Go-forward is brilliant for a 13. It's a perfect combination."

An outing with the versatile Marco Jansen van Vuren - employed at 12 -  last week against Western Province also delivered some tantalising output.

"Marco and I have a good time playing alongside each other. We also train a lot together, so that helps with the rapport," said Gans.

"He enjoys playing at 12, even though we don't know exactly what his regular position is. With his vast experience at scrumhalf, he obviously has an unbelievable pass, which allows me drift a bit on his distribution and also play a bit wider. 

"It's a nice experience."  

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