Pretoria – Surviving the rigours of playing Super Rugby, Blue Bulls centre Burger Odendaal hopes to cement a starting berth during this year’s Currie Cup season and stake a claim for higher honours.
This season the 22-year-old was thrust into the starting berth and a Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld following the late injury withdrawal of Springbok centre Jan Serfontein.
A dream debut followed with Odendaal scoring a try in a 31-19 victory for the Bulls.
He then featured in 10 more Super Rugby matches for the Bulls - evidence that his stellar debut was not a fluke.
"If you told me at the beginning of the year how things would turn out for me, I would not have believed you," Odendaal said on Thursday.
"I was very lucky to get my opportunity and use it to the best of my abilities which I believe one has to do when they come your way."
Although his 1.89m frame would make him the ideal candidate for a characteristic crash-ball runner as per the Bulls centre tradition, Odendaal has far more to his armoury.
"I just did what I’ve always done, but the game has changed from the traditional Bulls style of play," Odendaal said.
Odendaal said there was a sense of excitement in the Bulls camp following the appointment of Nollis Marais as the Blue Bulls’ head coach for this year’s Currie Cup.
Marais has vowed to change the Pretoria side’s playing philosophy to such an extent that they would surprise the opposition and entertain their fans.
"He (Marais) brings something different to coach Frans Ludeke, and I believe will be making good changes," Odendaal said.
"We are a bunch of young players and I think it is time for us to put up our hands and if everyone buys into the game plan and band together we will change things."
The Blue Bulls will be looking to reverse their fortunes after going five years without the Currie Cup title when they start their campaign away against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on August 8.