Nizaam Carr scores against the Blue Bulls despite the attention of three defenders. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

PRETORIA - The Blue Bulls have wasted no time in calling on the talent and experience of Springbok returnee Warrick Gelant to bolster their team ahead of their Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Gelant will add to the already impressive attacking ability of the Bulls but it is their ailing defence that continues to give coach Nollis Marais sleepless nights.

In the four games played so far this season, the Bulls have almost been unstoppable on attack, crossing the whitewash 21 times, but have been just as porous in holding their fort as they have leaked 19 tries.

Marais wants his team to continue on the upward trajectory when it comes to their attack and tries scored but is desperate to tighten the defence, especially with the free running side like the Cheetahs looming.

According to Marais, defence coach Pine Pienaar and John Mitchell have been working hard at inculcating their new defence structure. 

“Definitely our defence. When they have to be up and when they have to stay back, it is something they have to get used to. At the moment our defence is our problem and we need to fix that. Pine is working very hard at that and Mitch is helping.

“So, we have to get that balance between a good attacking side and a defensive side right otherwise it is going to be always score one and then leak one. If you want to win the Currie Cup then you need to have a very good defence.

“Our attack is good besides one or two mistakes like the knock-ons on the weekend but we need to be more consistent on defence,” said Marais.

While the Bulls continue to juggle striking a balance between their attack and defence, they have also had to play some musical chairs with their team due to injury and illness and they will have a new captain in Burger Odendaal after flank Boom Prinsloo was ruled out due to a bout of flu.

Prinsloo has been replaced by the evergreen Shaun Adendorff with Abongile Nonkontwana also being given the nod to start at number seven in place of the injured Jannes Kirsten.

Former Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff and prop Lizo Gqoboka have been left out of the side and will be considered for selection ahead of next week’s encounter.

Blue Bulls team: Warrick Gelant, Kefentse Mahlo, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal (captain), Jamba Ulengo, Tony Jantjies, Piet van Zyl, Nic de Jager, Abongile Nonkontwana, Shaun Adendorff, Ruben van Heerden, Irne Herbst, Conraad van Vuuren, Jan-Henning Campher, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jano Venter, Marco van Staden /Clyde Davids, Andre Warner, Joshua Stander, JT Jackson

Pretoria News

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