Bulls on rookie wings and a prayer
“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.