Bulls coach Mitchell says he has a plan for the Reds

08 March 2018 - 16:37 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Coach John Mitchell during the Vodacom Bulls training session and press conference at Loftus Versfeld on February 22, 2018 in Pretoria.
Coach John Mitchell during the Vodacom Bulls training session and press conference at Loftus Versfeld on February 22, 2018 in Pretoria.
Image: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

Bulls coach John Mitchell says they have worked hard on their lineout drives and general defence play in preparation for their Super Rugby clash against the Reds at the Suncorp Stadium in Australia on Saturday.

Of the seven tries they conceded in the 49-35 loss to the Lions at home last weekend‚ four came from lineouts and Mitchell said they have made some technical adjustments in that area to try and stop the bleeding.

“We have adjusted technically and we feel that we will come back with a good structure against the Reds‚" Mitchell said on Thursday from Queensland as they prepared under rainy conditions.

"It is an area which requires a plan.

"We fell short due to our own faults and hopefully we will get it right this weekend.

“There is always something to work on every week.

"I said post the Lions defeat that we also need to improve defensively and improve our patience in attacking structures.”

In announcing the team to face the Reds‚ Mitchell confirmed that flyhalf Handrè Pollard would captain the side in the absence of the injured Burger Odendaal (he has not recovered from a rib injury) with Johnny Kotze playing at inside centre.

In other positional changes‚ Springboks fullback Warrick Gelant will make his first start of the season at fullback to replace Diwan Rossouw, who has dropped to the bench while Duncan Matthews slots in at left wing.

Nick de Jager makes a return to the No 8 spot with Hanro Liebenberg moving to seven.

The rest of the pack is left unchanged but Thembelani Bholi drops out of the entire squad and Rossouw covers outside backs on the bench with Jason Jenkins and Trevor Nyakane named as reserves for the first time.

“He (Odendaal) is not ready but we will have made sure that he comes back for the Chiefs match next week.

"The Reds have shown to have strength with their centres and they will target our defence. So we are very fortunate that Johnny Kotze is capable‚” he said.

“Trevor is now in the fifth week of his preparation.

"We are satisfied with the growth of his metrics and now he seems on the same page skill-wise and tactically.

"It is time to start building him towards the end of the trip to have both him and Jason Jenkins available for 80 minutes of rugby.”

After the Reds match‚ the Bulls moves to New Zealand in the coming two weeks to take on the Chiefs and Crusaders before returning home to host the Stormers.



15.Warrick Gelant‚ 14.Travis Ismaiel‚ 13.Jesse Kriel‚ 12.Johnny Kotze‚ 11.Duncan Matthews‚ 10. Handrè Pollard (captain)‚ 9.Andre Warner; 8.Nick de Jager‚ 7.Hanro Liebenberg‚ 6.Roelof Smit‚ 5.Lood de Jager‚ 4.RG Snyman‚ 3.Frans van Wyk‚ 2.Jaco Visagie‚ 1.Pierre Schoeman.


16.Adriaan Strauss‚ 17.Lizo Gqoboka‚ 18.Trevor Nyakane‚ 19.Jason Jenkins‚ 20.Marco van Staden‚ 21.Embrose Papier‚ 22.Marnitz Boshoff‚ 23. Divan Rossouw.


15. Aidan Toua: 14. Filipo Daugunu; 13. Chris Feauai-Sautia; 12. Samu Kerevi; 11. Eto Nabuli‚ 10. Jono Lance; 9. James Tuttle; 8. Caleb Timu; 7 Liam Wright; 6. Adam Korczyk; 5. Kane Douglas; 4. Izack Rodda; 3. Taniela Tupou; 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa; 1. James Slipper (capt).


16. Alex Mafi; 17. JP Smith; 18. Sef Fa'agase; 19. Harry Hockings; 20. Angus Scott-Young; 21. Tate McDermott; 22. Hamish Stewart; 23. Duncan Paia'aua