JOHANNESBURG – The Bulls’ game plan may seem Old School but coach Pote Human insists they are equally adept at playing an expansive game.
The Pretoria side has been a revelation in two of their three opening Super Rugby matches, beating the Stormers and the Lions and outwitting both with well-balanced displays.
They outclassed the opposition in classic Bulls fashion, using the slow poison effect on both occasions.
The powerful pack beats the stuffing out of their opponents allowing flyhalf Handre Pollard to control the game on the front foot with time and space to boot.
“Any game is won and lost up front which just makes it easier for the backline players where Polly (Pollard) takes over and decides whether we run or kick,” Human said yesterday.
“We don’t go on to the field with a kicking mindset but if the opportunities are there we will play the ball.”
Human said his team was anything but one-dimensional, and that he has encouraged his players to play the situation instead of sticking to a predetermined plan.
“Against the Stormers, we scored four tries and on Saturday we scored two against the Lions, so if people are thinking we are playing ‘old Blue Bulls rugby’ where we just kick and defend, it is certainly not true,” he said.
“We step onto the field with an attacking mindset and that is how we want to play the game, which is also the only way we will get people back at Loftus.”
The Bulls will be looking to prove that their defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires in the second round was an anomaly.
“I think the way we played against the Stormers and the Lions last weekend is the way we want to play,” Human said. “It is also what the opposition presents to you and we want to play what is on that is for Handre to decide on the field.”
While Human was desperately looking to shake his conservative tag, he struck a blow for transformation at Loftus Versfeld with his selections for Saturday’s clash against the Sharks.
Human named 11 players of colour in their match-day squad, which consisted of six in the run-on side and five playing off the bench.
The Bulls’ injury woes continued unabated with Eli Snyman joining the laundry list of injured or unavailable locks.
Snyman has been ruled out for the match due to a shoulder injury with Hanro Liebenberg moving from the side of the scrum to the second row where he will partner with Jason Jenkins.
Snyman’s injury follows in the wake of the news that influential captain Lood de Jager would be out of action for four months following a shoulder operation on Tuesday.
Tim Agaba and Jannes Kirsten will form a new loose trio with Duane Vermeulen after Stoney Steenkamp failed to recover from a concussion.
Plucky scrumhalf Embrose Papier will shift to the bench with Ivan van Zyl earning a start as part of a rotational policy.
The Bulls team is:
Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Jesse Kriel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Handré Pollard (c), Ivan van Zyl, Duane Vermeulen, Tim Agaba, Jannes Kirsten, Jason Jenkins, Hanro Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: Corniel Els, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Tembelani Bholi, Paul Schoeman, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw@ockertde