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Bulls boss Jake White may lose his Boks if championship gets green light

15 October 2020 - 16:56 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Jake White during the Super Rugby Unlocked match between Vodacom Bulls and Tafel Lager Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on October 10 2020 in Pretoria.
Jake White during the Super Rugby Unlocked match between Vodacom Bulls and Tafel Lager Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on October 10 2020 in Pretoria.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Jake White may be forced to withdraw Springbok stars from his Super Rugby Unlocked team against the Cheetahs on Friday in Bloemfontein if the Springboks get the green light to take part in the Rugby Championship.

On Wednesday White included Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane‚ who may be in the frame for the hastily arranged Bok camp ahead of the trip to Australia‚ in the starting line-up to face the Cheetahs.

Earlier this week‚ Sanzaar gave SA Rugby until Friday to decide whether they will be sending the Springboks to the Rugby Championship to be hosted by Australia.

“To be fair‚ I don’t know. I don’t know what the rules are there‚” said White about the possibility of losing his Bok stars when he announced his squad for the Cheetahs clash on Wednesday. “Obviously we have prepared our team and I would like to think that the national coach said they need to get some game time under their belts. I would think that even if they are going to the championships‚ all the players playing this weekend will need to get some sort of rugby under their belt.”

Game time is important for Vermeulen who returns to action after he missed last weekend’s clash against the Griquas as he nursed a knee injury he sustained during the Springboks Showdown against the Stormers.

“I can’t really say that I had a good rest‚ obviously we had to take care of the knee and get the swelling down‚” said Vermeulen‚ adding that he is looking forward to playing the Cheetahs.

“At this very moment we are happy where we are and I can play on Friday. I played two years at the Cheetahs and it was a fantastic time in my career but now they have become opponents and I am used to playing against them in Bloem. I know they will be really pumped up to play against the Bulls on Friday.”

White added that he has inserted highly promising scrumhalf Embrose Papier in the starting line-up to deal with the pace of the Cheetahs.

“They [Cheetahs] make lots and lots of line breaks and Papier is one of the quickest players. But also they give lots of line breaks to the opposition. In the past couple of games‚ I think they have averaged probably about eight line breaks that they have conceded and if we can make some line breaks to get guys like Jade Stighling and Papier running into those holes and supporting each other then we can get some surprise scoring opportunities.

“It actually works out very nicely because I would like to see Ambrose start a game and I would like to see how he combines with that backline and it gives me other opportunities against a side like the Cheetahs who have got lots of pace.”