Competition for places driving Bulls forward

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 11:55
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Blue Bulls head coach Nollis Marais believes that the competition for places in the Bulls starting team has resulted in every player putting their best foot forward in the famous blue shirt. 

Competition is strong amongst the entire Blue Bulls squad at the moment with Marais enforcing a rotation policy with certain key players who are performing week in and week out.

Bulls loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman put in an impressive performance in the Bulls 57-20 victory over the Griquas in their Currie Cup Premier Division match in Pretoria last Friday, which saw him walk away with the man of the match award.

However, such is the depth in the Bulls squad at the moment that even a man of the match performance is not enough for Schoeman to start against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington as Marais continued with his rotation policy, which will see Lizo Gqoboka start ahead of Schoeman.

Gqoboka has also put in some workmanlike performances for the Bulls throughout this year's Currie Cup Premier Division tournament and Marais hinted the best loosehead prop will start in the semifinal. 

"The sad thing about it is that he [Pierre Schoeman] won't play [against Boland], because we will play with Lizo Gqoboka and that's why I don't like the 22-man system," said Marais 

"I think a lot of props don't get developed.

"I want a 23-man squad and I think we [Currie Cup] are the only competition in the world that doesn't play a 23-man squad, but to be fair to Lizo, he played very well last week (41-14 victory against Pumas) and Pierre is a machine.

The Bulls have also seen plenty of talent come through the ranks in the fullback position in recent weeks, with the likes of Ulrich Beyers showing his class with a good all-round game against the Griquas

Veteran Bjorn Basson, who has been sidelined due to injury for the past few weeks, came on as a substitute late in the game and also showed some good touches as he stepped his way past several tacklers before dotting down for the try in the final minute of the game.

"It's an excellent try from Bjorn. 

"The thing about Ulrich Beyers is that we always have options playing him at No.13 [outside centre], playing him at No.15 [fullback] and things like that. 

"The more a player plays, the more he gets confidence and the more he settles into a team," said Marais. 

By Josh Isaacson
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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