‘Good for me to get my hands on the ball,’ says Bulls’ wing Sergeal Petersen

Bulls' Sergeal Petersen runs with the ball during their United Rugby Championship game against Zebre. Photo: Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock

Bulls' Sergeal Petersen runs with the ball during their United Rugby Championship game against Zebre. Photo: Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock

Published Nov 8, 2023


The Bulls scored eight tries against Zebre on Saturday, but arguably the finest of them all was the one finished off by new wing Sergeal Petersen.

The move started with a clever line-out move about 10m outside the Zebre 22, where hooker Akker van der Merwe threw a short ball to prop Simphiwe Matanzima and then charged up the touchline himself.

A loose offload by Van der Merwe went nearly 10m backwards, but soon enough, Petersen regained momentum with a dancing run up the middle.

What followed was the continuity and pace that Jake White wants to see from his team in the United Rugby Championship (URC) this season, with some classy carries and offloads from the likes of Stedman Gans, Sebastian de Klerk, Zak Burger and co-captain Ruan Nortjé, before Petersen rounded off the move in the left-hand corner.

It is no wonder that Petersen, who was making his URC debut for the Bulls, expressed his satisfaction with the 54-29 victory in Italy before Friday’s clash against Cardiff. Kick-off is at 9.35pm.

“It felt good to be out there against, especially in a competitive competition – and the team we had on the day and the type of rugby we played ...

“A very expansive game, which is something I really like to be part of,” the 29-year-old No 11 said.

“It was just good for me to get my hands on the ball, ball in space and create some space for other players on the outside.”

He said he had played a lot at fullback in Japan, where he had learnt awareness of space and how to put others into space, “instead of just being a natural finisher”.

“I was really happy with my performance at the weekend, and the team did really well. We scored eight tries, so that’s a good day for the attack.

“With the type of players we have here, I think we are playing towards our strengths in our squad, and we all know we’ve got exciting runners in Willie (le Roux), Canan (Moodie) and Kurt-Lee (Arendse) still coming back from the Springboks.

“So, we will just try to play to our strengths and add to our arsenal where we can.”

Yes, the Bulls will be loaded in the back three positions this season once Bok stars Le Roux, Arendse and Moodie – with flank Marco van Staden the other World Cup squad member – return to the Pretoria side in a couple of weeks.

But with the considerable amount of matches throughout the season across the URC, Champions Cup and Currie Cup, there will be more than enough game time for everyone in the group.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a fight (for places) or anything like that. We all have our specific roles within the squad, and they are world champions,” said Petersen, who joined the Bulls from Japanese side Shimizu Blue Sharks, having previously played for the Stormers, Cheetahs and his home-town Southern Kings in Gqeberha.

“Canan hasn’t played a lot of rugby at the World Cup, so I’m sure he will be ready to go when he gets back this side.

“When they come back, it’s for us as a squad to feed off their success on the international scene, and hopefully they can bring that added fire to our squad so that we can go from strength to strength.”

Cardiff are always tough to beat at The Arms Park in the central part of the Welsh city, despite having lost their tournament opener 22-21 against Benetton a few weeks ago. They beat the Dragons 16-9 in Newport, and then went down 31-25 to the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday.

The Bulls, though, will be confident of pulling off another victory on Friday – despite the intricacies of the 4G pitch – as they are unbeaten against Cardiff, having won 45-9 at Loftus Versfeld in December last year and 29-19 in Wales in October 2021.


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