‘Enhanced’ Sergeal Petersen excited to bring out the best in Bulls outside backs

FILE - Sergeal Petersen is looking forward to his time at the Bulls. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

FILE - Sergeal Petersen is looking forward to his time at the Bulls. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Oct 20, 2023


Cape Town – It feels like just yesterday that Sergeal Petersen was scoring tries for fun as a teenager for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby.

It was in 2013 when an 18-year-old Petersen, who had just matriculated from Grey High in Gqeberha, became an overnight sensation with his exploits for the Kings.

Fast forward 10 years and the utility back has featured for the Cheetahs, Western Province, Stormers and most recently the Shimizu Blue Sharks in Japan.

But after a couple of seasons in Yokohama, the former junior sprinter wants to give it another crack in South African rugby by joining Jake White’s Bulls.

“I just think I have a little bit more to give, and I still want to test myself. It was also really an important move for me to get away and get my mind clear, and come back with a new motivation to play competitive rugby and be in a competitive set-up again,” Petersen told Independent Media ahead of Sunday’s United Rugby Championship opener against the Scarlets at Loftus Versfeld (3pm kickoff).

“That was the most important thing that drove me to come back to South Africa, back to a competitive set-up.

“I think personal growth, as a whole, on and off the field... I think I’ve grown as a person, and hopefully I’ve picked up a couple of things on the field that can help me in this new team. The experience I gained that side, combined with what I already had in South Africa, can only be positive for me as a player.”

Petersen largely played wing for most of his career, but said that he did spend time in the fullback position as well in Japan.

With the Bulls missing World Cup Springboks such as Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie at the moment, Petersen could be a valuable asset in the opening weeks of the URC.

“Calmness, a little bit of composure from the back or on the edges (is what Petersen can bring to the Bulls). I’ve always had a nice attacking kicking game, and I think that also improved a little bit – or just enhanced in Japan, being used as a kicking option that side. I think I’ve really improved in that sense,” the 29-year-old said.

“It’s really been an awesome pre-season. It’s been a nice, long pre-season, and we had time to focus on certain things that we want to achieve and do in this campaign.

“Being coached by Jake is a nice experience for me as a player who grew up in the era when Jake was the Bok coach, and we all know what success he reached with the Boks.

“And the type of game that he brings out of his outside backs makes me really excited for the season at the Bulls. Jake’s always had such a positive influence on the outside backs that he’s coached, so I’m really positive about the season and the competitiveness among the outside backs at the Bulls. We will push each other to get the best out of each other.”