No sibling rivalry for Kriel brothers at Bulls, says Richard
CAPE TOWN – It’s not often that two brothers can play in the same rugby team.
At the Bulls, Kriel brothers David and Richard are not just in the same squad, but are competing for the same fullback position too.
Richard, though, says he hasn’t always been a No 15. “He is actually the fullback between the two of us, because when I was in school (at Grey College), I was actually a flyhalf. And because he was so good on school, they thought I must also play at fullback, so they moved me to fullback as well,” Richard said yesterday ahead of the Rainbow Cup, which starts on April 24.
David turned 22 in February, while Richard is still just 19 and will celebrate his 20th birthday in July. The older sibling was favoured for most of last season, and following Gio Aplon’s injury, he became the first-choice fullback.
Richard got his chance in the recent Preparation Series when David was rested, with the latter having said previously that his younger brother is a better fullback than him.
“I think he is just trying to sound humble in the media, that’s all!” Richard said. “We are quite mature over the whole story. When David played the whole time and I just trained, I supported him the whole time and was never jealous.
“I think that is a good thing between him and me – when I played in the Preparation Series, he just backed me all the time and told me ‘Do this, you are doing that thing great’.
“So, there is absolutely no jealousy between the two of us, and we back each other and try to make the other one better.”
But with the next rugby season one that could possibly run from later this month right through to next year May, Richard is sure to get lots of game time. He proved in the Preparation Series that he can match his older brother with his counter-attacking style, and believes that the Bulls can continue in that vein in the Rainbow Cup, starting against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on April 24.
“You can see the plays that we are doing are definitely different from the previous season, because we have to adapt to the European conditions. With these next two weeks, we still have to finalise how we are going to play in these SA games, but the main focus will be on those European games,” Richard said.
“We look at how the other teams play and those kinds of things, and then we decide how we will go on the counter. But if we can run and there’s space, then we take it. It’s very nice to be able to play running rugby.
“We must just continue with what we are doing. There are a few new things that we are working on, so if that can come off and everyone gives 100 percent, then I think we can still pull it through. I hope I get a chance to play, but we will see what happens!”