Mitchell to focus on future as Bulls soldier on
Cape Town - Bulls coach John Mitchell says he will continue to focus on the future despite his side still mathematically being in the Super Rugby playoff race.
The Pretoria-based franchise is in Singapore this week preparing for Saturday's clash against the Sunwolves, but Mitchell has had his depth tested with several players unavailable due to injury.
The Bulls are bottom of the South African Conference and 12th overall, but they are still in with a shot at the playoffs if they win all three of their remaining matches this season.
After the Sunwolves on Saturday they return home to host the Jaguares before heading to Johannesburg for a date with the Lions.
But, despite the playoff race still being alive, Mitchell has admitted that the focus now is on the future.
"It's been a difficult challenge in recent weeks to try and use all of our resources. My mind is certainly on making sure that we develop for the future as well," he said.
"We've been decimated by injuries in the front row, in the loose forwards and in the lock department. It's tested and challenged some of the younger guys that are still developing."
One piece of good news is that the returning Springboks from the England series are all fit, available and playing with Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard, Embrose Papier and RG Snyman all starting on Saturday.
Mitchell was keeping a close eye on his Bok players, and he was pleased with how they went against England.
"They all did very well. They got minutes together and all made major contributions," Mitchell said.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 13:35 (SA time).
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo , 13 Jesse Kriel , 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes:16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Morne Smith, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dries Swanepoel