The Bulls Challenge – Featured Durban Blog

The Bulls Challenge:

Despite a Vodacom Super Rugby season that hasn’t followed the heights of recent years, the three time champion Bulls are no push-overs and, warns prop Coenie Oosthuizen, they’re coming to Durban to win.

The teams meet on Friday evening at Growthpoint KINGS PARK, and traditionally these two teams have quite a history of matches against each other that is sure to be emulated in this match.

Although Oosthuizen hasn’t had a complete break from rugby, having featured for the Springboks against France in the June incoming test series, he admits to being fresh and ready for Super Rugby.

“Test rugby is a different ball-game, even though I played 20 minutes [off the bench], it felt like 40 minutes of Super Rugby, but it was very enjoyable,” he explains.

“This weekend I will be giving nothing less than my absolute best against the Bulls. They’re a very physical side and I don’t think their log position is a true reflection of where the team is. They have some key players who featured for the Springboks and SA ‘A’ side, so you can’t take them for granted.

“If they pitch up physically, they’re one of the toughest teams in South Africa. And when you play a South African derby, it’s one of the toughest games of the season. But we’re looking forward to it and ready to face the challenge.”

“Although the games they’ve played and the season hasn’t always gone their way, they are still a heck of a good side. Often it’s just a mental shift that is needed to start winning games, and I don’t think they are just going to come here and lie down, just because of their log position.

“I think they will come out swinging and give of their best.”

He admits that it’s a different challenge, making the transition from international rugby to Super Rugby, but there is no dampening of spirits for what is coming next. “It’s exciting to be back,” he says, “it’s a new challenge, getting back into the structure and the mind shift for the preparation for the Bulls after a bit of a break.

“I’m happy to be back at my home ground with the Cell C Sharks, we’re excited to be playing in front of our home crowd and we’re a team playing for each other, there’s a real brotherhood here, so it makes all of our jobs that much easier, I know it does for me.”

There is something special about South African derby matches, and few to rival those featuring the Cell C Sharks and Bulls.

“South African derbies are always the hardest,” he explains. “Knowing the players, we’re often good mates, but they’re happy to have a full go at you, to hurt you or get under your skin. It’s always physical, always a forwards’ game and the kind of games you always look forward to.

“The Bulls are going to be up for this game, this might be one of our toughest games of the season. Physically, they’re big players who come hard at you for the full 80 minutes.

“We’re really going to have to pitch up if we want to do well.”

The post The Bulls Challenge appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

Vodacom Super Rugby Returns:

The Cell C Sharks will host the Bulls at Growthpoint KINGS PARK this Friday evening as Vodacom Super Rugby gets back on track after a month long break for the June International Test window.

Although there has been a long break from the last Super Rugby match played over a month ago, when the Cell C Sharks defeated the Stormers 22-10, most of the players have had some form of match action recently.

They’ve either featured for the Cell C Sharks XV in their Supersport Rugby Challenge campaign, or for the SA ‘A’ or Springboks in the June internationals against French opposition which should remove any cobwebs that a long break might produce.

“It’s quite a balancing act we have to play her with the players after a tough few weeks of rugby action they’ve endured,” explains forwards coach Ryan Strudwick.

“They’ve all played, everyone has had a run, so that’s a big positive, but it’s a case of getting everyone back into our game plan and gelling again within our system.”

An all-international front row will great the Bulls, with Thomas du Toit, Franco Marais and Coenie Oosthuizen all playing for the SA ‘A’ side or Springboks, while Philip van der Walt leads the team from flank, alongside Tera Mtembu and Daniel du Preez.

Cobus Reinach and Garth April will form the halfback combination while there is a mix of youth and experience on the wings, Sbu Nkosi and Odwa Ndungane wearing the number 11 and 14 jerseys respectively.

There is a new centre partnership, Andre Esterhuizen back in Super Rugby action, partnering S’bura Sithole. Curwin Bosch is back after his SA Under 20 duties, playing at fullback.

“Andre is raring to go, he’s played a few matches and he’s really excited about getting back into Super Rugby action,” said Strudwick. S’bura Sithole get his first start in Super Rugby 2017 and will be keen to take his opportunity in a position that he has played well at previously.

Centre Marius Louw has been named on the bench and if he comes on, he will make his Super Rugby debut. Lock Hyron Andrews is another player on the bench that has not featured in this year’s competition.

“There are a few permutations for the play-offs, but primarily we want to keep our home record going, it’s been good to date in that we haven’t lost here all year.”

Without looking too far ahead, Strudwick pointed out the need to play good quality, successful rugby as they look to close out the pool stages in good form to take continuity and confidence into the knock-out rounds.

“We need two bonus points over the next two games although we have qualified and we are through.”

The Bulls have a star-studded side with nothing to lose and a lot to gain by impressing a new coach coming in, and they have a few Boks back. We’re expecting them to give it a full go.”

Players that were not considered for selection this week due to carrying slight niggles include: Beast Mtawarira, Jean-Luc du Preez, Kobus van Wyk and Lwazi Mvovo.

The match takes place on Friday evening at 7pm.


The Cell C Sharks
1 Thomas du Toit 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle
2 Franco Marais 17 Juan Schoeman
3 Coenie Oosthuizen 18 Lourens Adriaanse
4 Etienne Oosthuizen 19 Hyron Andrews
5 Stephan Lewies 20 Jacques Vermeulen
6 Philip van der Walt (Captain) 21 Michael Claassens
7 Tera Mtembu 22 Jeremy Ward
8 Daniel du Preez 23  Marius Louw
9 Cobus Reinach
10 Garth April
11 Sbu Nkosi
12 Andre Esterhuizen
13 S’bura Sithole
14 Odwa Ndungane
15 Curwin Bosch

The post Vodacom Super Rugby Returns appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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