Sintu Manjezi enjoys being part of Jake White’s Bulls revolution
CAPE TOWN - Bulls second-row forward Sintu Manjezi isn’t your typical No 4 lock - and that’s a compliment.
The 25-year-old second-rower, who is also able to operate as a blindside flank, is not the Bakkies Botha-like 120kg-plus heavyweight who is there to clean out rucks and intimidate the opposition in the tight loose.
But the St Andrews product, who hails from East London, still manages to fulfil the No 4 role with aplomb due to his robust and energetic style of play.
He is no shrinking violet either at 1.98m and 117kg, and it shows in his play as he gets stuck in at mauls, does clean out rucks, puts in big hits on defence and leaps into the air to win line-outs against the throw.
And it is that kind of energy that he hopes to bring to the Bulls, in Super Rugby Unlocked. Manjezi has come off the bench in the opening two games against Griquas and the Cheetahs, but will be hoping for a start in Saturday’s showdown against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld (7pm kick-off).
Manjezi’s former Cheetahs lock partner Walt Steenkamp will be joining him in Pretoria from November 1.
He says “life has been good” at the Bulls so far, and that he has enjoyed learning from Springboks such as Duane Vermeulen, Nizaam Carr and Arno Botha, as well as director of rugby Jake White.
“Coach Jake allows us to express ourselves, so we’ve had an opportunity to keep doing that. He doesn’t want us to be in a box and not play the rugby you want to play. He allows you to express yourself within the system,” Manjezi said.
“With the type of rugby we are playing at the Bulls, we’ve moved the ball - especially if you look at the warm-up game against the Sharks - but we’ve also shown that we can play it tight, and we can maul it up and be physical with our forwards. It’s a combination of both, which I am enjoying being a part of here.”
But there are a number of areas that the Bulls have to fix from last week’s 19-17 loss to the Cheetahs if they want to get past the Sharks on Saturday. In fact, Manjezi believes his team should implement some of the lessons learned from their 49-28 SuperFan victory over the Durban side.
Coach Sean Everitt has breathed new life into the Sharks, who play an all-encompassing game which sees forwards and backs combining on attack, while they also boast a solid defence.
They come off a bye after an opening-round 19-16 win over the Lions, and will have studied the Bulls closely.
“One positive that we can take out of that (SuperFan) game is that we were able to play off the Sharks’ mistakes and convert off those mistakes. In this game, I think we are going to get the ball, but just need to stay focused, stay within the system and just convert the opportunities that we’ll get,” Manjezi said.
“The Sharks will try to play off your turnovers and put you under kick pressure. The forwards have got to show up to make that difference. The Sharks have had quite a decent set-piece, and we will look to put them under pressure.”