Libbok has his chance to lead from the front
PRETORIA – In an unyielding competition like Super Rugby, it is never the right time to go into battle without your first-choice players.
Bulls coach Pote Human’s hand has been forced this week with the suspension of Schalk Brits while Jesse Kriel and Handre Pollard get a rest as per the World Cup protocols.
Human also opted to rotate his wingers with Johnny Kotze and Jade Stighling earning starting berths replacing Rosko Specman and Cornal Hendricks for tomorrow’s return clash against the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld.
That is a lot of changes for a team battling to truly find their rhythm after complete destruction at the hands of the Chiefs a fortnight ago.
But there is probably not a better time to give the stalwarts a rest and give the backup players a run.
From a glass-half-full perspective, the changes could see the Pretoria side test their depth now instead of at the business end of the tournament.
Former Junior Bok Manie Libbok will get a chance to showcase his skills and show why Human rates him so highly.
“I know what he can do and we are all excited to give him a chance and to play in Polly’s (Pollard) shadow is difficulty and this is an opportunity to show what he can do,” Human said. “He’s got other skills that Polly doesn’t have, he’s got good feet and he’s also a special player.”
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Libbok may bring an added dimension to the Bulls’ game with the 21-year-old possessing playmaker qualities.
Brits’ four-match suspension is an opportunity for Corniel Els and Jaco Visagie to get extended runs.
Els has been solid in his role as backup to Brits up to this point and will be looking for a good performance from the start.
Flyers Hendricks and Specman had dream starts to their 2019 Super Rugby campaigns but they have not been as sharp as they should be in the last two matches.
With Kotze and Stighling earning starts it is clear no player is guaranteed a place in the run-on side. A good dollop of competition should remove any sense of complacency in the side.@ockertde