Bulls wary of Sharks backlash

rugby04 March 2019 08:14| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Jesse Kriel © Getty Images
While the Vodacom Bulls will no longer be able to claim the underdog tag as they head into another derby game against the Cell C Sharks this coming weekend at Loftus Versfeld, coach Pote Human is still very wary of the threat they face.

The Sharks may have struggled against the Stormers pack and lost their home game against the Cape rivals this weekend, but Human knows they will present a very different challenge to the Bulls when they arrive in Pretoria and will be looking to make amends for their first loss in the competition.

And given the pre-season game between the two sides, the Bulls know what to expect, even though pre-season games are taken at face value with little read into them.

“It’s going to be a very different challenge, the sharks have an excellent pack, but we are at loftus and we want to make our supporters proud and hope they come out in the thousands to support us,” Human said.

“They can be difficult, and in the second half we just defended (in the pre-season game). We know they will come hard for us.”

Human isn’t a man for many words, but he did express satisfaction at the way the Bulls responded after their poor showing in Buenos Aires. Tapering off training and allowing the team to recover also gave them energy, with motivation against their neighbours never being an issue.

And while some may criticise their approach of building an innings, Human is satisfied this is the right course in a competition that rewards consistency. After all, with Pollard hitting everything dead on, why not use one of the best boots in the business?

“If polly can hit it like he hits it now, then I’m very happy,” Human added.

“Three points, six points, nine points, you make the opposition play catch-up.”

The Bulls will be proud of their defence and will know they face another bruising battle this weekend. But in the absence of two Springbok locks Lood de Jager and RG Snyman, their replacements have been a vital part of the Bulls engine taking them forward. Human was particularly impressed with young Snyman’s performance.

“Eli, you pick him, and it is his first start and there are guys who don’t rate him but you know he can make the step up and he did. Jason will get better and better, I think the guys coming from overseas are a bit behind and Jason is now there,” Human smiled.

The Bulls have a few injury concerns – most notably Duane Vermeulen’s shoulder, a rib injury to Trevor Nyakane as well as Ruan Steenkamp (haematoma) and Snyman (shoulder) but on Saturday night few of them seemed serious enough for too much worry.

While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, there should be some good news on the injury front, as four players – Springbok winger Travis Ismaiel, flankers Roelof Smit and Jano Venter and hooker Jaco Visagie all started training with the side last week and some of the quartet are already expected to be cleared Monday for selection this week.