JOHANNESBURG - Springbok centre Jesse Kriel will give the Blue Bulls a timely boost to their Currie Cup campaign and is likely to start in their upcoming derby against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Kriel, who was released from the Springboks last weekend, will be a major boost for the Loftus Versfeld based side that got out of the blocks with an inspiring 34-12 win over the Free State Cheetahs on Friday.
Blue Bulls scrum coach and former Springbok hooker Gary Botha praised Kriel for his professionalism and enthusiasm at wanting to play Currie Cup rugby even though he is part of the national team.
“Yes (glad to have him back). He is just a special athlete. He is very professional and I think the guys take a lot of his energy. He’s just a guy that amazes me that comes from the Boks and wants to play and just jumps in. That is the type of characters we are looking forward to at the Bulls and also growing at the Bulls,” Botha said.
It will be with the same professionalism and enthusiasm to be the last team standing that Botha is encouraging within the Bulls team especially with the challenge of playing their first two games in the competition away from home.
With the win over the Cheetahs now a thing of the past, Botha says the team will have to muster an even better performance against the Sharks in Durban if they are to walk away with another valuable win and bonus point as they did in Bloemfontein last Friday.
“I think (in a) single round Currie Cup the pressure is on to perform well. I think it is important to start good and put yourself in a position with away games and at least take some points out of it. I think that is going to be a tallying factor in this Currie Cup,” Botha said.
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“That’s all to the guys, we’ve been working hard the past three to four weeks but there is still a lot of work to do. But getting an away win with a bonus point is satisfactory but we also know that in the competition it is hard graft in each match. The guys stuck to their guns well under pressure and there is a couple of things we can change to do better and a couple of things that we’ve been working on that we executed well. It’s pleasing yet in the same sense there’s still a lot of work to do. Hopefully we can get that done quick enough.”
The Bulls will be without lock Ruben van Heerden, who suffered a concussion against the Cheetahs, but his absence will be mitigated by the return to training from injury of locks Ashton Fortuin and Eli Snyman.