/Bok legend Steyn to add injection of pedigree at new-look Bulls

Bok legend Steyn to add injection of pedigree at new-look Bulls

2019-11-28 11:34

Cape
Town – The Bulls may
be entering their second Super Rugby season under coach Pote Human in
2020, but they are starting anew in many respects having lost a host of key
individuals who helped guide the franchise to the quarter-finals of the 2019
competition. 

Duane Vermeulen, Handre Pollard,
Jesse Kriel, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Hanro Liebenberg and
Schalk Brits are all moving on from their respective stints at Loftus next
year. 

A quick glance through that list
makes it clear that the Pretoria-based outfit will be losing an abundance of
quality and experience, but Human is viewing that as an opportunity for his
young players to put their hands up and prove that they belong on this level.

It also makes the arrival of
former Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn all the more important. 

Now 35, Steyn is in Pretoria
having arrived from a seven-year stay at Stade Francais and with 66 Test
matches to his name, he will provide a major injection of much-needed pedigree
at Loftus this season. 

“We had that opportunity
with Schalk (Brits) and Duane (Vermeulen) last year. They came in and everybody
listened to them because of their experience and the way they conducted
themselves,” Human told Sport24 on
Thursday. 

“Morne is the same kind of
guy. He will help a guy like Manie Libbok a lot, especially with his kicking
game. Morne will be one of the leaders like he was at the Bulls before.

“He’s an awesome guy and
always the fittest on the field. He will lead by example.”

Steyn’s wife is expected to give
birth in Pretoria this week, but he is likely to join up with the Bulls for a
final push of pre-season training before they break for the festive
season. 

“We’re in our eighth week of
pre-season and then we will give guys a break for three weeks and start again
on January 4,” said Human, confirming a warm-up clash against Tuks on
January 11.  

“The guys are buying in and
they’re working really hard. There are a few youngsters putting up their hands
and they want to show me they can play Super Rugby.

“Because of all the guys
that have left, there is a new opportunity, so guys are really working hard.
They want to make a name for themselves.

“Maybe there is a new Lood
de Jager, Duane Vermeulen or Handre Pollard in the wings, you never know.”

Steyn will also be key to the way
the Bulls play this season, with Human expecting him to be the general on the
field. 

Losing the physicality of the
likes of Vermeulen, Snyman and De Jager will have a major impact on how the Bulls
play. 

“You have to play with what
you’ve got, and I don’t think I’ve got the players at this stage to play old
Bulls rugby,” Human said.

“We won’t be stupid, but if
the opportunity is there to play then we want the players to express themselves.

“A guy like Morne will run
that 100% for me. Play the territory, but if it’s on then I want to play
it.”

The Bulls will also be welcoming
Josh Strauss and Juandre Kruger to the franchise next week. 

In terms of expectations for
2020, Human was very clear: “We have to make the playoffs again,” he
said.

“It’s going to be a huge
challenge, but I like a challenge and I want to make the fans proud
again.”

The Bulls start their campaign
with a clash against the Sharks at Kings Park on January 31.