Super Rugby

Marco van Staden surely squarely on Bok radar again after 'outstanding' showing

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Marco van Staden
Marco van Staden
  • Marco van Staden continues to showcase the type of form for the Bulls that would've made him a shoo-in for Springbok selection.
  • Jake White, his director of rugby, hailed him as the franchise's "most consistent player" to date in Super Rugby Unlocked, highlighting his brilliant reading of the rucks.
  • Van Staden's exploits of the breakdown inspired his team-mates to arguably focus on the breakdowns as the area that would've subdued the worthy Lions.

Springbok selections might not be top of the agenda for the next few months but there's little doubt that Marco van Staden would've played himself back into contention for the Green-and-Gold.

The bustling, tungsten-tough opensider was once again outstanding for the Bulls in their tight 30-25 victory over the Lions at Ellis Park in a Super Rugby Unlocked encounter.

One of last year's Bok squad members to miss out on the World Cup, there were doubts whether the 25-year-old would fit the profile of a Jake White loose forward, his director of rugby at Loftus.

Those have now totally evaporated.

"Marco's probably been the most consistent player for us this season," said White.

"He was on another level to the rest in this game. He's always a threat, he carries well and his breakdown skills are phenomenal. What's happened is that he has a lot of one-on-one sessions with Nollis Marais, our breakdown coach."

Van Staden was ever-present, making seven carries, completing nine tackles and proving a pest at the rucks.

"He's making such great calls as a defensive 'jackal'," said White.

"Marco's not just going into every single breakdown. He understands his role and the timing of what he does, whether he goes in or folds around the corner and waits for the next one. 

"He's getting better and better at that all the time. He was outstanding."

Whether consciously or not, Van Staden's exploits also clearly inspired his team-mates who, despite a difficult night at the set-pieces, realise they can still gain a match-winning foothold by bossing the breakdowns.

It was arguably the difference between the two neighbours.

"I was very happy that we had the upper hand at the breakdowns," said White.

"That's based on the fact that the Lions picked a backrow that was quick and intent on slowing the game and making it a bit scrappy.

"The Lions definitely managed to do so at times but they were also fortunate at times that they didn't get the law against them. In one sequence of pressure from us, they infringed four times. It was difficult to get going.

"We weren't accurate in the set-pieces but we're learning and improving. At least the rucks were good." 

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