Currie Cup

Walt Steenkamp's easy Bulls integration highlights Jake's philosophy

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Walt Steenkamp (Gallo Images)
Walt Steenkamp (Gallo Images)
  • The Bulls' early success under Jake White has been predicated on quick buy-in from all his players, but his newest recruit is the best example of that.
  • Lock Walt Steenkamp only moved to Loftus at the start of the month yet has already made a seamless integration.
  • Vitally, his existing team-mates haven't felt threatened by his arrival and have actively supported him.

It's undeniable that the Bulls' early success under Jake White is a classic case of his players speedily buying into his philosophies.

Yet it's their most recent recruit, Walt Steenkamp, that's arguably exemplified it.

The 25-year-old lock only joined from the Cheetahs earlier this month, but immediately slotted into the starting line-up.

White made the reasonable argument that it was probably better to do so as his unfamiliarity at that stage with the finer details of the Bulls' system made a more regular member a "safer" bet as impact player.

Steenkamp, however, took little time to make his mark.

"Jake has established a system that when you come into it, you have to work really hard if you want to make it," said Russell Winter, the Bulls' forwards coach.

"The next thing, here's Walt, he's come from the Cheetahs, who've been playing good rugby and are well coached. He's a very intelligent player by nature, but the key is that he's been working hard from day one.

"He's been taking everything on board, everything that he's been shared. There's been buy-in from him."

Another vital factor has been the fact that the Bulls' band of locks - much like the powerful group of loose forwards - have embraced the enhanced competition that Steenkamp brings.

It's hardly been a case of existing team members closing up shop for the "new guy".

"(22-year-old) Ruan Nortje has helped him a lot and he's got Sintu (Manjezi) who was a team-mate of his at the Cheetahs and are very good friends," said Winter.

"Everyone is included in the system. Everybody's trying to help and making sure that everyone's on the same page when it comes to detail and the way we want to play.

"It comes down to hard work once again, but it's also important for us not to over-complicate things. We've put structures in place that the players can understand and buy into. 

"Then you can reasonably expect them to execute that plan quite reliably."

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