/ 3 August 2011

Bulls include seven Boks to face Lions

The Blue Bulls have named seven of their eight returning Springboks in the team to face the Lions in a Currie Cup clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

Dewald Potgieter was handed the captaincy at the team announcement on Wednesday after Bok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle replaced regular skipper and hooker Gary Botha.

Potgieter said the returning Boks would make it challenging for the side to find a common goal as some players would still want to play for a spot in the national team going to the World Cup next month.

“In an ideal world you would want to say that all the players are focussed on one goal which is to win the Currie Cup,” Potgieter said.

“But we all know that the guys who are returning would like to send a message that they can still be part of the Bok setup.

“The secret is to manage it by telling the guys that we might have 22 players with different goals but everyone’s goals are so much easier to reach by simply helping each other.”

The Bulls had an inconsistent start to the Currie Cup, losing their first match against the Sharks, winning their second round clash against the Cheetahs and going down to Western Province in the third round last week.

Bulls coach Pine Pienaar said their biggest problem this season had been poor starts to the first halves of their matches.

“In the first half we are conceding too many turnovers and tries and the guys are punishing us for that,” said Pienaar. “It is a matter of playing a bit smarter in that first half and enforcing the way we want to play against the next side.”

Pienaar announced the return to the team of fullback Zane Kirchner, wing Bjorn Basson, lock Flip van der Merwe, and props Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling.

Returning fetcher flanker Deon Stegmann was set to start from the bench.

These players were part of a group of 23 Springboks released this week to play in the domestic competition.

The only Bok player who would not feature in the match, Pienaar said, was centre Wynand Olivier who was nursing a shoulder injury.

With the pressure building on the Bulls to find consistency, Potgieter said the returning Boks would give the side some much needed momentum.

“We always welcome the Boks back with open arms and the nice thing is we are getting a lot of leaders in their own positions back and guys who take control of the mini facets of the game because it comes naturally for them,” the skipper said.

“A lot of guys will step to the fore and take control which will make my job a hell of a lot easier.”

Pienaar also made a tactical shift with centre Francois Venter replacing Stephan Dippenaar.

He said Venter would play at inside centre with Stefan Watermeyer moving to the outside centre position.

Blue Bulls team: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, Stefan Watermeyer, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Francois Brummer, Dustin Jinka, CJ Stander, Dewald Potgieter (captain), Derick Kuun, Juandre Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Gary Botha, Rossouw de Klerk, Fudge Mabeta, Deon Stegmann, Lohan Jacobs, Marnitz Boshof, Stephan Dippenaar. — Sapa