Bulls warned success in WP clash is critical for future
● Coach Human chooses Ivan van Zyl to add experience to young side
Blue Bulls coach Pote Human said experience was the factor that made him choose Ivan van Zyl ahead of Embrose Papier for Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against Western Province.
For all his Bok experience‚ Papier has yet to feature in the Currie Cup and will be making his debut when he comes off the bench.
Van Zyl‚ who is also a capped Bok‚ has 22 Currie Cup matches. The Blue Bulls have to beat Western Province at Loftus Versfeld to ensure they qualify for next week’s semifinals.
“Ivan’s experience and with this young team‚ he’s what I think we need. Embrose will make a huge impact when he comes off the bench‚” Human said.
“Rassie didn’t call me so I made my own call for this game and it’s just the experience matter that counts here. That’s made me go with Ivan.”
While the Bulls have the benefit of the final round-robin game with their 17 log points‚ they have to look at the Pumas and Lions game to see where they will travel to for a playoff game.
They will also have to pray Griquas do a number on the Sharks (21) in Kimberly but Western Province are not only unbeaten‚ their rugby has been uncompromising.
While the Bulls‚ like most of the other teams‚ have the benefit of their returning Springboks‚ Western Province have a stronger contingent.
However‚ Human hoped the players understood what it meant to play for the Bulls against Western Province in what is known as the North/South derby.
“I told them if you’re not motivated to play against West- ern Province at Loftus Versfeld‚ then you don’t belong here.
“It’s a big one for us and depending on what happens in the other games‚ it could be a must-win for us‚” Human said.
“The Bok players are very positive and they want to play. They want some game time and none of them has a lot of it.
“Embrose only had six or seven minutes last week. They’re excited and they lift the spirit of the team.”
Tighthead prop Wilco Louw will play his 50th match for Western Province in the NorthSouth derby.
Louw is one of four players who have returned from the Springbok squad to take their place in the starting XV for the final league fixture of the Currie Cup.
He is joined in the Western Province team by flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe, flyhalf Damian Willemse and centre Ruhan Nel.
Having already secured a home semifinal at Newlands next week, Western Province will be looking to seal top spot in the standings by continuing their unbeaten run in the Currie Cup this season.
In the front row, Louw starts alongside hooker Scarra Ntubeni and prop Ali Vermaak, with skipper Chris van Zyl and JD Schickerling being the lock pairing.
Notshe is at No 8 and will be flanked by Kobus van Dyk and Ernst van Rhyn in the loose trio.
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies will form an all-new halfback pairing with Willemse, while Dan du Plessis makes his first start of the season in midfield alongside Nel.
The outside back combination of Dillyn Leyds at fullback and wings Sergeal Petersen and SP Marais remains unchanged.
Western Province head coach John Dobson said his team were expecting a typically tough examination at Loftus Versfeld.
“The Blue Bulls will obviously be highly motivated for this match, which should provide us with the sort of challenge we need ahead of the playoffs.
“We have an extremely exciting team and we are all looking forward to putting our plans into action at Loftus Versfeld,” he said.
Blue Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw‚ 14 Jamba Ulengo‚ 13 Johnny Kotze‚ 12 Franco Naude‚ 11 Jade Stighling‚ 10 Manie Libbok‚ 9 Ivan van Zyl‚ 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain)‚ 7 Marco van Staden‚ 6 Ruan Steenkamp‚ 5 Eli Snyman‚ 4 Hendre Stassen‚ 3 Trevor Nyakane‚ 2 Jaco Visagie‚ 1 Matthys Basson. Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle‚ 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen‚ 18 Ruan Nortje‚ 19 Nic de Jager‚ 20 Embrose Papier‚ 21 Tinus de Beer‚ 22 Dylan Sage. DHL Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 SP Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw (50th DHL WP cap), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Josh Stander. Referee: Egon Seconds Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius‚ Eduan Nel
TMO: Lesego Legoete
OLD HAND: Ivan van Zyl of the Vodacom Blue Bulls clears the base during the Currie Cup match between the Blue Bulls and Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on September