Bulls lock Walt Steenkamp ’expecting a few strange things’ from Cheetahs
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CAPE TOWN - Bulls lock Walt Steenkamp is expecting a few tricks in the line-outs from his former Cheetahs teammates at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The last time the Bulls faced the Cheetahs, Walt Steenkamp wore the No 5 jersey for the Bloemfontein side.
On Saturday, he will swap jerseys and wear a different number, with the Bulls No 4 on his back for the Loftus Versfeld clash (4.30pm kick-off).In the 19-17 Super Rugby Unlocked victory at the Free State Stadium, Steenkamp and his fellow Cheetahs forwards took the fight to the much-vaunted Bulls pack and won the physical battle.
So, the 25-year-old from Rustenburg knows what’s coming his way in Pretoria, although he is expecting a few tricks in the line-outs from his former teammates.
“The Cheetahs always have a plan. I think it’s a difficult team to play against,” Steenkamp said.
“They know Sintu (Manjezi) and I are here, so they have to change a few things, and I think they will. They have good coaching, and (Cheetahs forwards coach) Corniel van Zyl is a master in the line-outs, so I’m expecting a few strange things.
“I spent two-and-a-half years with the guys there, on and off the field, so they know all my good and bad points. So, I think there will be a few words said on the day to try and take me off my game. But I am looking forward to playing against them, and just to do what I can.”
Speaking of Manjezi, Steenkamp expressed his gratitude to his ex-Cheetahs lock partner for assisting him to settle in quickly in the capital city.
“The first day I was in Pretoria, he was already by my hotel and went through the things with me. He told me what is happening here, what I must do and helped me with the lineouts and stuff. So, I am thankful to him.”
Steenkamp said that the move to Loftus Versfeld was an “easy decision”, and that he hopes to fill the big shoes left behind by the vast lock factory that has come through the union.
One of those men is Lood de Jager, who actually followed the same route as Steenkamp in arriving at the Bulls, having come through the North-West University (Pukke), then the Leopards and Cheetahs, and finally Loftus.
The next step is Springbok colours… “That’s the plan – to run out for the Green and Gold, and we hope it will happen one day,” Steenkamp said.
The Bulls didn’t have things their own way upfront in last week’s 22-20 win over Western Province at Newlands, where they lost a few line-outs on their own throw-in and were shunted back in the scrums on a few occasions.Steenkamp, who is 2.03m tall and weighs 121kg, knows that they cannot afford such lapses against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
“The WP have an outstanding pack, and almost everyone in front were Springboks. They had a plan, and put us under a lot of pressure, especially in the scrums. Of course we need to go back to the drawing board to see where we can improve, but we will definitely improve.”