Bulls primed to blood another new Springbok wing in 'The Rocket Man'?

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Stravino Jacobs. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Stravino Jacobs. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • Stravino Jacobs has a rare opportunity in the absence of two Springbok Bulls teammates against the Scarlets to stamp his authority on the team.
  • The 22-year-old winger is burly but explosive and has generally grabbed his chances when presented with them and should have the all-round game to cope comfortably in the European winter. 
  • Stand-in head coach Chris Rossouw hails the Bulls' strong squad system.

Have the Bulls taken a step towards completing a hat-trick of producing Springbok wingers from relatively humble beginnings?

It's one of the intriguing questions ahead of their URC meeting with the Scarlets in Llanelli on Friday night following the selection of Stravino Jacobs, who profits from the injuries sustained by the star-dusted duo of Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse.

The burly yet imposing 22-year-old - nicknamed 'Rocket Man' from his school days - hasn't been afforded much game-time over the past few months, but has nonetheless picked up considerable experience over the past two successful years for the franchise.

When called into action, Jacobs has seldomly disappointed, notably proving an absolute menace as a strike-runner in the Bulls' opening Champions Cup victory over Lyon in December and scoring a sumptuous solo try to boot.

"Stravino's actually had a good 'run' despite not playing a lot over the past six weeks. He's looking in really good form," said Bulls stand-in head coach Chris Rossouw.

"He brings different attributes and skills to Canan. He's big and physical."

READ | It's a stinker ... will it be toodle-oo to Bulls in Toulouse?

Indeed, at 1.80m and 100kg, Jacobs is the equivalent of a pocket rocket built like a brickhouse.

While that heady Lyon outing showcased his pace and incisiveness in abundance, he also possesses the skills needed for the slower conditions of the European winter, particularly some bruising defence and a booming left boot.

"His boot definitely is a way of gaining good field position, a nice alternative option," said Rossouw.

"His physical approach and running lines gives one a great advantage as the attacking team because he's difficult to stop. Stravino defends well and when he finds a line, he goes through with it. That's tough to defend against.

"He's a very fine player."

Jacobs' inclusion is part of a broader theme to the Bulls' assembled match-day squad, one that illustrates the effectiveness of their contracting in light of the challenge of juggling various tournaments.

Moodie and Arendse are undeniably notable absentees, as Rossouw acknowledges, but a glance at the team sheet wouldn't let an even casual observer gasp for air about any glaring hole being left.

That's depth for you.



15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Steff Evans, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Ioan Nicholas, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Aaron Schlinger (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Sam Wainwright, 2 Daf Hughes, 1 Kemsley Mathias 

Substitutes: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Harri O'Connor, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Eddie James


15 Johan Goosen, 14 David Kriel, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Substitutes: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Cornal Hendricks, 23 Wandi Simelane

"Our approach has always been predicated on building your squad around a team, not individuals," said Rossouw.

"We know great individual players are difficult to replace, but our strength is getting players in that put the process and collective on the forefront. It's those two aspects that define long-term success.

"This is another opportunity for us to show off that depth. We've done it before and performed very well. We need to function as a whole."  

Kick-off is at 21:35.

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