Stormers pack worries beefy Bulls

The Bulls may be rated as one of the most fierce and physical sets of forwards in the Super 14 competition, but they have not forgotten how the Stormers pack (in the guise of Western Province) taught them a couple of harsh lessons in the Currie Cup last year.

And with hard man Danie Rossouw almost certainly ruled out of this Saturday’s all-South African derby at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the Stormers will sense another opportunity to take their arch rivals on up front.

Bulls assistant coach Pote Human, who confirmed that Rossouw is the only major injury concern, said he expect the Stormers to come hard at the Bulls and target their pack again.

“Yes, we expect them to do the same again,” Human said when asked about Western Province’s tactics in the Currie Cup last year – in which they twice beat the Bulls by overpowering their pack.

Human said the Stormers showed against the Lions last Saturday, a 30-8 victory at Newlands, that they still possess the ability to dominate the opposition up front.

“I was very impressed with their set pieces, especially in the second half,” Human told this website.

“Their line-outs were outstanding throughout. Add to that Luke [Watson] and Schalk [Burger], who are masters at the breakdown.

“We expect a really big onslaught up front.

“Then there was also [centre] De Wet Barry, who really played like a Springbok. We certainly took note of that.

“Their back three is just as dangerous, especially if they start with Brent Russell. He made a huge difference when he came on against the Lions.

“We certainly have enormous respect for the Stormers.”

The Bulls’ assistant coach said the victory over the Lions last week will give the Stormers an enormous boost of confidence.

“They also beat us twice last year in the Currie Cup with Luke [Watson] as captain. They know exactly what it takes to beat us.

“We know they will come with a big onslaught, because if they beat us on Saturday and get a bonus point, while we get nothing, they will be ahead of us on the standings.
“No doubt the pressure is on us. They can just come out, play rugby and enjoy it.”

Human also spoke about the likely loss of Rossouw to a neck injury he suffered in the final tour match against the Hurricanes almost a fortnight ago.

“We are a bit concerned about Danie Rossouw. He hasn’t trained with us yet and will undergo a fitness test on Wednesday, but we are very concerned about him.”

But the good news is that Springbok loose forward Pierre Spies has recovered from the knee injury suffered on the year-end tour in November and will be considered for Saturday’s game,.

Centre JP Nel is back from his three-week suspension, while fellow midfielder Wynand Olivier is also likely to start this week after coming off the bench against the Hurricanes.

Fullback Johan Roets has also started training and will undergo a fitness test on Wednesday, which might bring him into the selection frame as well.

That means, with the exception if Rossouw, the Bulls will be at full strength for the Stormers’ visit.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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