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Stegmann brings balance to Bulls

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 06:21
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You work hard, but don't get the rewards
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Deon Stegmann may not be everybody's cup of tea, but he is the prefect fit for the type of game the Bulls want to play.

Having missed the start of the season due to a groin injury, Stegmann's return will be a major boost for a team in desperate need of a specialist openside flank.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, speaking to this website ahead of their Round Four Super Rugby encounter with the Blues, said the 27-year-old Springbok's return could not have been timed better.

"He has plenty of experience and is a specialist at the breakdown that brings the ability to win turnovers," Ludeke said, adding that it was "great" to have the six-times capped international back.

He admitted  there is a thin line between hero and zero for openside flanks in Super Rugby, but Stegmann has been consistently getting it right for the Bulls over a number of seasons.

"He's a stalwart in our team for some time now," the coach added.

"Jono Ross has done a good job [at No.6], but he moves to No.8 - a position he is more familiar with and played there for us in the Currie Cup."

The Bulls mentor admitted that Stegmann's return also brings a "different balance" to the loose forward combination.

"With Jacques [du Plessis] also in the mix, [who is] a specialist blindside [flank] and ball carrier,  Steggies [Stegmann] at openside and Jono Ross who is more comfortable at No.8 is a much better combination," he said of the Bulls' approach to the game.

Last week's 25-17 win over the Lions have also given the Bulls more confidence, after defeats in the opening weeks of the competition.

"We know how it goes," Ludeke told this website, adding: "You often work hard, but just don't get the rewards.

"We saw, in the first two weeks, when we couldn't secure the [desired] result, but a lot of positives came from that.

"That is how we approach it, every week we must improve as a team.

"This weekend is a different kind of opponent [the Blues] that brings totally different challenges.

"However, it is still important that we continue to build on last week's win."

By Jan de Koning

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