CAPE TOWN – The Bulls may have rumbled into Treviso, but Benetton captain Dewaldt Duvenage has warned the Pretoria outfit that his team “pride ourselves on our set-pieces” ahead of Saturday’s Rainbow Cup final in Italy.
Jake White’s team are obvious favourites, but that doesn’t mean the hosts will roll over easily at the Stadio di Monigo (6.30pm kickoff).
In fact, they could even decode the Bulls lineout, with hooker Corniel Els having been part of the Currie Cup-winning team at the end of January.
“We know the blue wave is coming, especially the first few minutes. For us, it’s all about the unknown factor. It’s the first game between north and south, so it’s going to be really interesting. It’s going to be fun to measure up against them. We are going to bring our brand of rugby… and try our best,” former Stormers scrumhalf Duvenage said from Treviso on Friday.
“Finals rugby is all about defence and the kicking game. I reckon they have a good balance with that, with Chris Smith at 10 a good kicker, same as David Kriel at fullback.
“We have experienced guys, and some great young talent of Italian rugby. In terms of the forward pack, we obviously pride ourselves on our set-pieces, but we will see how we measure up to the Bulls set-piece.”
Duvenage, now 33, played nearly 100 Super Rugby games for the Stormers, and has been at Benetton since 2018.
He spent some time this week with former teammate Gio Aplon, who brought him a package from South Africa. “He gave me the package – there were no secrets shared! But we had a nice catch-up between old friends, so it was good.”
It will be anything but friendly on the pitch during the final, though, and Benetton will look to catch the Bulls off-guard in front of 1 000 spectators, who will try to create some sort of atmosphere to spur on the home side in what will be coach Kieran Cowley’s last match in charge before he becomes the Italy head coach.
“There is no secret about it – South Africans are hard, physical teams, and that is typical finals rugby. The Bulls pride themselves on that, and know what they are going to bring, and we just need to know how to stop it,” Duvenage said.
“Back in the day, I played a few finals against them – the 2010 Super Rugby final at Soweto, and then the (2009 Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands), with the high tackle from Sireli (Naqelevuki)…
“This season has been all about ups and downs for us, and as a group, we got tighter over the past couple of months because of the trials and tribulations. We will concentrate on ourselves and play our type of rugby, and we will see what happens in the game.”