The good news for Bulls supporters is that Springbok centre Jesse Kriel will spearhead the Pretoria team’s challenge in their Currie Cup match against the Sharks this afternoon at 3pm; the better news for Sharks fans is that their team has six Springboks of their own.
The Currie Cup has not been getting a good press of late as the average of the players gets ever younger, with so many Super Rugby stars either with the Springboks or in Japan, but by the end of the straight-shooting six rounds, exciting new talent will have been unearthed.
In the case of the Sharks, their emerging talent has the luxury of being guided by the likes of Chiliboy Ralepelle, Daniel du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Robert du Preez, Curwin Bosch and Lwazi Mvovo, all Springboks.
The third Du Preez brother, Jean-Luc, is for the next two months unavailable both for the Springboks and the Sharks. It is an unfortunate development but it is also good news in that he is having a problem that has niggled him for ages sorted out.
Coach Robert du Preez has identified two problem areas from Super Rugby that he wants to iron out in the Currie Cup.
“What we’ve learned is that when you create opportunities in rugby, you have to convert them; there have been too many opportunities going begging. And when you have hiccups in the game, you have to deal with them immediately then move on. You can’t dwell on them,” the coach said.
After beating a strong Bordeaux side in last week’s friendly at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Du Preez feels the Currie Cup bodes well for the Sharks.
“On paper, it certainly looks like we have the squad to win the Currie Cup, but we have to physically go out and do it on the field, starting with our very first match.
“And we have a tough one start with. The Bulls are a formidable side who have players back in the team from injury, it’s going to be a tough contest. They played really well in beating Free State last week.”