PRETORIA – With the Bulls starting their Super Rugby campaign a week later than most teams, the men in blue will use the time wisely to put the finishing touches ahead of their opening match against the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld.
Such has been the progress made in their two pre-season friendlies against the Sharks and Stormers, head coach John Mitchell has confirmed that he will unleash his Springboks in the remaining warm-up match against the Jaguares on Saturday.
Having given much needed game time to Springbok lock Lood de Jager and RG Snyman in the 26-all draw against the Stormers in Wellington on Saturday, Mitchell is looking at introducing the likes of Handre Pollard, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant and Trevor Nyakane along with co-captain Nic de Jager and lock Jason Jenkins.
“We are three weeks away from competition so we have a week up our sleeves so we will need to start introducing our Japanese, Test and injury returnees.
“By the time we get to competition we must make sure that all our players have at least 120 minutes of rugby under their belts,” said Mitchell after the game against the Stormers.
Mitchell was impressed with the manner in which his team performed against the Stormers, complimenting them on the significant growth shown in a week after an indifferent performance against the Sharks in Polokwane.
It seems as though the Bulls showed plenty of intent with ball in hand and could have run away with proceedings had they capitalised on the opportunities created early in the game.
At the same time, De Jager and Snyman also impressed Mitchell with the control of the line-out which had capitulated the week before but more than anything, there are signs of a better season ahead if the Bulls continue to improve.
“It was certainly good growth for us within a week. Obviously we are trying to build depth within the 38 and we flipped the team from last week. The mindset was good and the start was terrific and we probably left a bit out there. We showed good attitude and the structures are starting to show and we set pieced really well.
“The intent was good and we are encouraging the players to play what is in front of them. We were a bit premeditated but last week we had to survive off zero line-out,” Mitchell added.