Bulls face tough task

Lof­tus out­fit are huge un­der­dogs at the Shark Tank against their high-fly­ing hosts

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Sport - Mmasakepem@the­newage.co.za


TONIGHT’S Su­per Rugby match against the Sharks at Kings Park at 7pm could be the third last match for the Bulls this sea­son be­fore a total rev­o­lu­tion takes place at Lof­tus Vers­feld – but their cap­tain Adri­aan Strauss has said he would still be at the Tsh­wanebased fran­chise next sea­son.

To sug­gest the Bulls will be un­der­dogs against Robert du Preez’ side is an un­der­state­ment.

Nol­lis Marais’ main hope tonight will be that Strauss, who has an­nounced that he will not play in the Cur­rie Cup, will be on top of his game along­side the cen­tre-pair­ing of Jan Ser­fontein and Jesse Kriel.

An­other part of the rev­o­lu­tion will be the ar­rival of new coach John Mitchell next sea­son.

Hav­ing al­ready missed out on the play­offs and gear­ing to­wards their busi­ness end of the sea­son, Bulls cap­tain Strauss said his side will give their best against the Sharks.

“No, this is not my last game (for the Bulls). I will not be play­ing Cur­rie Cup but I still have some time left here at the Bulls. I will be spend­ing the next months in the gym. I did not get a lot of rest this year,” Strauss said.

“We still un­der­stand the re­spon­si­bil­ity to play good rugby. The shack­les are a bit off and what is left is for us to go out there and ex­press our­selves. We have three games left in the com­pe­ti­tion and we will go there to show in­tent.

“How­ever, the Sharks will be tough, es­pe­cially at the gain line.”

While the Tsh­wane side re­mains anx­ious fol­low­ing the three-week in­ter­na­tional break, the Sharks are vir­tu­ally on top of the world, hav­ing had a num­ber of play­ers do well in the Spring­boks setup.

They were also in good form in Su­per Rugby be­fore the break, win­ning four of their last five matches to stand a good chance of mak­ing the play-offs.

On the other hand, the Bulls lost four, win­ning just one against the Chee­tahs.

Sharks coach Du Preez may have de­cided to rest some of his Bok stars, but he still has a strong lineup that sees young Sibu­siso Nkosi start­ing at wing in the place of Lwazi Mvovo, while S’bura Sit­hole will be play­ing his first Su­per Rugby match of the year. Fly­half Garth April will part­ner Cobus Reinach at half­back, with Cur­win Bosch at full­back. Sharks prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen, who played in the Boks’ three match Test se­ries, said they will give their best against the Bulls tonight.

“This week­end I will be giv­less ing noth­ing than my ab­so­lute best against the Bulls. They’re a very phys­i­cal side and I don’t think their log po­si­tion is a true re­flec­tion of where the team is,” Oosthuizen said.


POW­ER­HOUSE: Sharks prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen. PO­TENT: Bulls’ Jan Ser­fontein will play along­side Jesse Kriel at cen­tre.

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