Currie Cup

Bulls' Kriel happy at No 15

2014-08-22 17:40
Jesse Kriel (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Jesse Kriel aims to make most of his opportunity when he starts for the Blue Bulls against the EP Kings at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The 20-year-old is recognised as one of the top young talents in South Africa as he boasts an exciting attacking game and solid defence.

This has seen him excel at the Bulls as a junior, already playing two years of Vodacom Cup rugby. He was also one of the outstanding performers at the Junior World Championship in New Zealand earlier this year, which helped the Junior Springboks reach the final.

While he's played mostly centre this year, he's relishing the opportunity of making his first Currie Cup start at fullback, which is the position where he excelled as schoolboy.

"Fullback is my preferred position," Kriel told the MyPlayers website. "I enjoy the extra space when I have the ball. I'm going to make the most of this opportunity.

"Starting in the Currie Cup is a dream come true and a big milestone. I get to play against the best players in the country in the most prestigious South African competition."

Kriel gives credit to experienced wingers Akona Ndungane and Bjorn Basson for his recent development in the senior squad.

"Playing and training alongside Springboks like Akona and Bjorn has helped me a lot," said Kriel. "As a young player, I learned so much from the experience and advice they pass down. They've helped me a lot on and off the field."    

Heading into the EP Kings clash this weekend, the Bulls are struggling at the foot of the Currie Cup table following big defeats to the Golden Lions (41-13) and Western Province (41-17).

Kriel is confident the men from Pretoria can bounce back at Loftus Versfeld.

"The EP Kings will be a big challenge, but we'll be focusing on our own game," said Kriel. "We want to improve in all areas, and once we do that, we will do much better on the field."

Saturday’s clash kicks off at 15:00.


Blue Bulls:

15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques Du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van Der Merwe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan
Liebenburg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers

EP Kings:

15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Gary van Aswegen, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Paul Schoeman,6  Stefan Willemse, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Steven Cummins, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Jaco Grobler, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Siyanda Grey

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Read more on:    blue bulls  |  ep kings  |  currie cup  |  pretoria  |  rugby

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