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Bulls coach Jake White takes a gun to Currie Cup final gunfight

28 January 2021 - 18:19 By mahlatse mphahlele
Blue Bulls coach Jake White is taking no chances in Saturday's final against the Sharks.
Blue Bulls coach Jake White is taking no chances in Saturday's final against the Sharks.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White has named the strongest possible squad for the Currie Cup final against the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.

White tried to find a balance between experience and consistency in the starting line-up with the likes of captain Duane Vermeulen‚ Cornal Hendricks‚ Morné Steyn‚ Ivan van Zyl‚ Marco van Staden‚ Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka.

Among the forwards‚ the only change is at hooker where Johan Grobbelaar has been preferred ahead of Schalk Erasmus who will be used as an impact player from the bench.

Vermeulen will once again lead the team from the back of the scrum where he will continue his successful loose forward partnership with Elrigh Louw and fellow Springbok Marco van Staden.

Springboks Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka will prop up a strong Bulls scrum while adding firepower in loose play.

“We have secured a place in the final but we still have 80 minutes to play‚” said White, adding that there will be no second chances.

“There are no second chances in playoff rugby and our opponents are just as eager to lift this coveted trophy. Our job is to prevent this from happening and ensuring that the Currie Cup returns to Loftus Versfeld‚” said White.

The backs are unchanged as Marco Jansen van Vuren continues in his role at outside centre after a successful outing against the Lions last weekend where he was a late injury replacement for Blitzbok Stedman Gans.

Steyn will add value as a leader and with the boot to unleash a backline that carries a huge punch and is spearheaded by Springbok Hendricks and Blitzbok Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Former schoolboy sensation Stravino Jacobs‚ who has excelled after a baptism of fire in his first season as a senior player‚ will be keen to add to the brace of tries that he scored in the semifinal last weekend.

Fresh legs from the bench will see players such as Jacques van Rooyen and Arno Botha coming on to inflict as much damage as possible while Springbok Embrose Papier and Chris Smith will be primed to open up the match in the latter stages.

Bulls Squad: 15. David Kriel‚ 14. Kurt-Lee Arendse‚ 13. Marco Jansen van Vuren‚ 12. Cornal Hendricks‚ 11. Stravino Jacobs‚ 10. Morné Steyn‚ 9. Ivan van Zyl‚ 8. Duane Vermeulen (C)‚ 7. Elrigh Louw‚ 6. Marco van Staden‚ 5. Ruan Nortje‚ 4. Sintu Manjezi‚ 3. Trevor Nyakane‚ 2. Johan Grobbelaar‚ 1. Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16. Schalk Erasmus‚ 17. Jacques van Rooyen‚ 18. Mornay Smith‚ 19. Jan Uys‚ 20. Arno Botha‚ 21. Embrose Papier‚ 22. Chris Smith‚ 23. Marnus Potgieter‚ 24. Nizaam Carr‚ 25. Gerhard Steenekamp‚ 26. Keagan Johannes‚ 27. Jade Stighling