PRETORIA – The Bulls will be fielding 10 Springboks in their starting line-up for their warm-up match against the Sharks on Saturday, but according to coach Pote Human, this will count for nothing if they do not show an appetite to play Super Rugby.
Human has rung the changes to the team that went down 32-28 against the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday, with the hopes of finalising his starting XV ahead of their season opener next weekend.
“There are still a few guys that must show me that they want to play Super Rugby this year, we’ll see on Saturday,” Human said.
“I am giving some guys another opportunity and they must use it. They must be hungry, and I want to see that hunger on Saturday against the Sharks.”
Only eight starting players from the Cape Town match have been retained for the encounter against the Sharks.
Dylan Sage, Embrose Papier, Thembelani Bholi and Ruan Steenkamp, who played off the bench last weekend, will earn starting berths against the Sharks.
The Bulls will field two new wings, with former Bok flyer Cornal Hendricks and Blitzbok Rosko Specman getting another chance to impress after they featured in the team’s first warm-up match against the Lions two weeks ago.
Although Human believed his charges performed well against the Stormers, he was not completely happy with the way things went at Cape Town Stadium.
“We reviewed the game and we played very well, but we gave away soft tries, while the penalty count is still too high for me and unacceptable,” Human said.
“We need to become consistent in our performances and be better on Saturday.
“I think it is rustiness. Most of the guys only played their first games in quite a while, but we sorted that out this week, and we look forward to Saturday.”
Jenkins, Liebenberg and Warner back with #BullsFamily.— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) February 7, 2019
Jason Jenkins will start at lock with Lood de Jager on Saturday when the Vodacom Bulls take on the Cell C Sharks in Ballito.
Read more:https://t.co/7VqoHfy6kL pic.twitter.com/uoZKAiltmE
Human said the team would be looking for a better start to the match after they conceded 21 points in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter against the Stormers.
“The bad start last weekend, where we conceded some soft tries early, forced us to play catch-up rugby,” he said.
“We responded well, but I would not like to see a repeat of that.”
Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Jesse Kriel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Handré Pollard, Embrose Papier, Duane Vermeulen, Thembelani Bholi, Ruan Steenkamp, Lood de Jager (captain), Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Britz, Lizo Gqoboka.
Bench: Johan Grobbelaar, Matthys Basson, Conraad van Vuuren, Hanro Liebenberg, Paul Schoeman, Jannes Kirsten, Tim Agaba, André Warner, JT Jackson, Jade Stighling, Divan Rossouw.@ockertde