Bulls on rookie wings and a prayer

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

“Yes it’s all John Mitchell.”

That has been the stand­ing joke around Lof­tus Vers­feld in the past few weeks as an­tic­i­pa­tion grows ahead of the ar­rival of the for­mer All Black coach who will take up his new po­si­tion as ex­ec­u­tive of rugby at the Bulls mid­way through July.

Mitchell’s ar­rival in the cap­i­tal is ex­pected to re­store pride but he is also ex­pected to per­form mir­a­cles and haul the Bulls back from the brink of medi­ocrity to Su­per Rugby’s top ta­ble.

But one thing that Mitchell has not been able to do is to give the Bulls wings!

Fol­low­ing the tag line of a world fa­mous en­ergy drink, the Bulls would have loved for Mitchell to give them wings as they face an in­jury cri­sis with their out­side backs.

Ke­fentse Mahlo will be the third Bulls wing to make his Su­per Rugby de­but in as many games af­ter Jade Stigh­ling and Dun­can Matthews came in as re­place­ments for the in­jured Travis Is­maiel and Jamba Ulengo.

The fleet-footed Matthews scored on de­but against the highly-rated Hur­ri­canes at Lof­tus in their last match be­fore the June in­ter­na­tional win­dow and the Bulls will be hop­ing that Mahlo also makes an in­stant im­pres­sion in his first out­ing at this level.

All eyes will be on Mahlo and Matthews as they come face-to-face with vet­eran Odwa Ndun­gane and speed­ster S’bu Nkosi but also on the rest of the men in blue if they are to un­shackle them­selves from the bondage of de­feat and fly to vic­tory.

The hand of Mitchell is yet to take ef­fect on the Bulls but much will rest with Mahlo and Matthews to give the Bulls wings so they can be­gin the long road to redemp­tion and sal­vage some pride in a sea­son gone hor­ri­bly wrong and has failed to take off.

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