Bulls captain De Jager expects clash against the Stormers to have the intensity of a Test

13 February 2019 - 15:39 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
The Vodacom Bulls head coach Pote Human (L) and captain Lood de Jager (R) during the Bulls' Super Rugby press conference at Loftus on February 7 2019.
The Vodacom Bulls head coach Pote Human (L) and captain Lood de Jager (R) during the Bulls' Super Rugby press conference at Loftus on February 7 2019.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

With an array of Springboks talent that will be on show during their Super Rugby opener against the Stormers at Loftus on Saturday‚ Bulls captain Lood de Jager expects their clash to have the intensity of a Test match.

Bulls coach Pote Human on Wednesday announced a strong squad consisting of nine Springboks in the starting line-up with one on the bench and the Stormers are also expected to be heavy with their international stars when they name their squad on Thursday.

Human included Warrick Gelant‚ Jesse Kriel‚ Handre Pollard‚ Embrose Papier‚ Duane Vermeulen‚ Lood de Jager‚ Trevor Nyakane‚ Lizo Gqoboka and Schalk Brits.

Ivan van Zyl was named on the bench and De Jager said the quality that will be on show will give the match the feel of a Test match.

“Yes‚ this match will definitely have a feel of a Test match given the number of Springboks players that will be on show on Saturday from both sides‚” he said at Loftus on Wednesday.

“There are going to be world class players on the field and I am expecting a Test match atmosphere and intensity.

"This will get the best out of the players and hopefully fans will come in their numbers to support the match‚” he said‚ adding that the match is likely to be decided on set-pieces.

“We have identified that this game is probably going to be a set-piece battle like most South African derbies.

"We are expecting a good scrum from them and we must have a good plan for that and the line-out is also going to be interesting because they have good jumpers.

"In response‚ our line-out forwards must also be on top of their game.”

As a vital cog of the Bulls line-out‚ De Jager is aware that he will be targeted by the Stormers and he is ready for battle.

“They have talented players and they will have a strong lineout‚ which means we must be ready for a challenging set-piece.

"They are coming here with a point to prove.

"I was once a youngster trying to outgun the senior opposition players and their younger players in the line-outs will be gunning for me.”

Human said after weeks of preparation since he was confirmed as coach to replaced departed John Mitchell‚ they are ready to start the season where they will be judged by at least reaching the play-offs for the first time on over six years.

“I am happy with the preparation for this season‚ there are ten Boks in this team which is awesome to have but still guys have to go out there and perform for the rest of the season.

"If you play against the Stormers at Loftus or in Cape Town there is no motivation needed and I am sure that all the guys are motivated to go out there and show their skills.”

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant‚ 14 Johnny Kotze‚ 13 Jessie Kriel‚ 12 Burger Odendaal‚ 11 Rosko Specman‚ 10 Handre Pollard‚ 9 Embrose Papier‚ 8 Duane Vermeulen‚ 7 Hanro Liebenberg‚ 6 Ruan Steenkamp‚ 5 Lood de Jager (captain)‚ 4 Jason Jenkins‚ 3 Trevor Nyakane‚ 2 Schalk Brits‚ 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els‚ 17 Simphiwe Matanzima‚ 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen‚ 19 Eli Snyman‚ 20 Thembelani Bholi‚ 21 Ivan van Zyl‚ 22 Manie Libbok‚ 23 Dylan Sage