Vodacom Super 14

Bulls packed with experience

2010-05-25 22:37
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
JJ Harmse

Pretoria – 25 Super rugby winners’ medals and 1165 caps!

That is the experience and achievements that Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is able to call on for Saturday’s Super 14 final against the Stormers in Soweto.

Apart from Bakkies Botha (suspended), all of Ludeke’s top players are fit and available.

Captain Victor Matfield said it would only be of value if they could play the right rugby in the right areas of the field, pressurise their opponents and use their chances.

“It’s definitely good to know that we have a few guys that have been there, but it won’t count for anything on Saturday if we don’t pitch and play,” said the captain, who will be playing in his third final.

Matfield along with Wynand Olivier, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, Derick Kuün and Gurthrö Steenkamp are in the hunt for their third winner’s medal.

The only players in the starting line-up not to have walked off the field a Super 14 tournament winner are Gerhard van den Heever and Francois Hougaard. The latter was included after passing a fitness test.

Van den Heever, who has served a suspension of two weeks, is the only change to the team that beat the Crusaders. He has been included in place of Jaco van der Westhuyzen, who drops down to the bench and replaces Stephan Dippenaar.

Van der Westhuyzen and Gary Botha tasted glory in 2007, while Zane Kirchner, Jaco Pretorius, Dewald Potgieter, Werner Kruger and Deon Stegmann did so last season.

Matfield said the difference between the sides could be their match-winners. Here the Bulls can bank on Du Preez and Steyn.

“The set phases are important because it determines the momentum you get. I expect matters to be fairly even there,” said Matfield.

“The influence of players that can create play can be the difference, but you first need to establish a structure in which those players can flourish.

“We have a number of those players, but it will be important to lay the platform.”

The captain also believes that the two best sides in the competition are contesting the final.

“It’s number one against number two on the log. Both won their semi-finals with good performances and have momentum on their side. Add to that that it’s two arch-rivals and North against South. It’s all building towards a big one.”

The Bulls:

15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Jaco Pretorius, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Morne Steyn, 9. Fourie du Preez, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield (capt), 4. Danie Rossouw, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Gary Botha, 1. Gurthro Steenkamp.
Substitutes: 16. Bandise Maku, 17. Bees Roux, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Derick Kuun, 20. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 21. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 22. Pedrie Wannenburg.


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