Brendan Nel - SuperSport.com
Pretoria - Springbok Sevens stalwart Rosko Specman fired the first shots ahead of a much-anticipated Super Rugby opening derby next month ahead of a possible showdown with his former Blitzbok team-mate Seabelo Senatla.
Specman recently joined the Bulls while Senatla is with the Stormers and the two may get a first taste of a new rivalry when the Stormers host the Bulls on SuperHeroes day at Newlands in a pre-season friendly on February 3.
Two weeks later the two teams meet again in the Super Rugby opener, and Specman engaged in a bit of banter as he reminded Senatla he was one up on him already. The two players are good friends and often joked while in the Sevens camp, and it looks as if that will continue now going into fifteens.
“That will be something exciting but last year me and Sea played against each other,” Specman said when asked about a potential match-up.
“And so far its 1-0 because I was man of the match in the match between Western Province and Cheetahs. It will be something exciting and you always have to test yourself against the best. Sea is a world class Sevens player and you always want to test yourself against the best.”
So will it be Specman’s step against Senatla’s speed. The former Blitzbok just laughs.
“You never know, I can maybe confuse the enemy – speed with step, you never know.”
Specman has slotted in well under the radar at the Bulls, with much of the focus being on the arrival of Schalk Brits and the impending addition of Duane Vermeulen and is sporting new coloured dreadlocks –fashioned in the blue and white of his new team.
“So far it has been a blessing and I must say the coaches and the players have allowed me to settle in well, so there are exciting times ahead,” he smiles.
“I just want to confuse my enemy. The enemy – when you do stuff like this, people are going to recognise you and you must make sure when you do your thing, you musn’t make a lot of mistakes because they’re going to say – it’s that kid with the funny hairstyle.”
Specman is looking forward to playing alongside another former Blitzbok in Cornal Hendricks, who was also added to the team after a number of years on the sideline with a heart ailment.
“The way Cornal showed himself and the way he is on the field, you can see the guy is still hungry. It was just a setback for him when he got that illness, but you can see he is hungry and excited, and I also can't wait for him, because he brings a lot of energy on the field, and that is what you sometimes need – one guy who brings the energy and then you can go for it.
“I must say, you can see Cornal was playing Sevens and that is where he picked it up. He is vocal, and you always need that guy when you are tired, that 1 percentage. And he is that guy, he is calm on the field and that just puts you on another level again.”
And he is settling in well with his new backline coach Chris Rossouw.
“As you can see coach Chris comes from the Western Cape and the Stormers like to play the ball wide, but the nicest thing about him is he first wants to cramp the forwards up, and he isn’t one of those guys who wants to be fancy, he wants us to stop the guys up front and straighten and square and all that basic stuff and then take the ball out wide.
“For now I’ll let Jesse and Dylan take it up in the centres, but you know me, I like to make my own space but if the guys put me in space I will take it, and make sure I finish the opportunities I get.”
Specman wants to prove he belongs in Fifteens, and believes he has achieved all he can in Sevens already.
“It hasn’t been difficult to adjust, because before I went to Sevens I was at the Pumas, and then I saw I can still do my thing in Fifteens, and then I went to Sevens to make my skills better. I’ve always set myself four year goals and at the Sevens I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve, this is now a new pathway for me.
"I know what I can do at Sevens I also do it at Fifteens. The reason - I feel I have all the points to do well, I know where my weak links are, in defence I talk a lot and I know which players to attack. Last year I played Fifteens again and there I showed I can play in both codes, Fifteens and Sevens. Nowadays you get guys who either play Fifteens or Sevens and I’m one who can do both.
“For now, I just want to play myself into a place in the Bulls team and gain the confidence of the coaches and players. If I can achieve that for the first few weeks in the warm-up games, then things will fall in place.”
And if he gets into space, you can be sure the step will come into play, whether Senatla or whoever is in front of him.
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