Super Rugby

Jake White hails Fourie du Preez's impact on Bulls halfbacks

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Ivan van Zyl in action for the Bulls during their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 31 October 2020.
Ivan van Zyl in action for the Bulls during their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 31 October 2020.
Lee Warren/Gallo Images
  • Bulls mentor Jake White has lauded the impact Springbok legend Fourie du Preez has had on the team's halfbacks.
  • Scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl was a standout in the Bulls' 39-6 win over the Bulls, while veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn was equally impressive.
  • White is also chuffed with the efforts of versatile backs Stedman Gans and Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has hailed the impact Springbok legend Fourie du Preez has had on the team's halfbacks.

Scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl was one of the standouts during Saturday's night's 39-6 mauling of the Stormers in Pretoria.

Van Zyl, a Springbok of six Tests, set up a try for centre Stedman Gans after a break off a scrum and also crossed the whitewash himself following a sniping break from Gans.

His crisp service also allowed flyhalf Morne Steyn to thrive - the Springbok veteran produced a tactical masterclass, with his clever chips in behind the Stormers defence keeping the visitors at sixes and sevens throughout.

During the post-match virtual press conference, White said his scrumhalves are reaping the benefits of working with former Bulls and Springbok scrumhalf Du Preez, who has joined the team on a consultancy basis.

"We let him (Van Zyl) train with Fourie du Preez once a week and you can see the sort of impact that Fourie du Preez is helping the halfbacks with. We didn't get to see Embrose (Papier) today, but I can tell you it's the little things and the detail that Du Preez [adds]," White said.

"It's like confidence... when you get a guy like him coming in and helping with the technical stuff, understanding about the game and just getting a feel for what their roles are, you can never underestimate what sort of knowledge and intellectual property they're getting from a guy like Fourie du Preez."

White also heaped praise on veteran Steyn, whose kicking troubled the Stormers all night.

"I watched him play when he was at Stade Francais while I was coaching at Montpellier (in France). He was still winning games there, he was still winning man-of-the-match awards. I think Stade Francais won the league when he was there - he was one of the most important players for them as well.

"The thing that I've enjoyed is that Jacques (van Rooyen), Duane (Vermeulen) and Morne... all older guys... and the kind of performances they're giving the juniors is making it so much more easy for the coaching staff to get those juniors to play like that because when they play like that it rubs off on the junior players."

Outside centre Gans, meanwhile, was named man-of-the-match after scoring a brace of tries and White was particularly impressed with the way he interacted with versatile winger Kurt-Lee Arendse.

"That's the one thing I'm also enjoying... that combination is growing and growing. I think they both could play wing. I've enjoyed moving them into the midfield where they can get their hands on the ball.

"Let's not forget, Stedman's played against Lukhanyo Am, who we rate as the best outside centre in South Africa and probably in the world... and in the space of a month, he's played against Lukhanyo twice. There's no doubt that when he comes off the field having played against Lukhanyo, he takes that confidence into the next game.

"It's wonderful to see those two guys combining like they do, because obviously it creates something for us outside, and with our forward pack as it is now, it's obviously difficult for defenders to know where we're going to go," White concluded.

READ | Stormers players, coach Dobson leave Loftus 'embarrassed'

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