‘Bulls depth to be tested his week’ — Matanzima

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Bulls prop Simphiwe Matanzima.
Bulls prop Simphiwe Matanzima.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Bulls prop Simphiwe Matanzima says the depth of their squad will be tested this week with the team playing in the Currie Cup on Wednesday and the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Saturday.

Loftus will be a hive of activity this week with the first between the Bulls and the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup on Wednesday and the arrival of the Lions in the URC Jukskei derby at the weekend.

“It is always a big week when you have Currie Cup on the Wednesday and the URC at the weekend. It means you have to manage the squad very well,” said 24-year old Matanzima, who started in the 34-10 win over the Lions last weekend at Ellis Park.

“Everyone is in good spirits after the win over the Lions last weekend away from home and we are looking forward to hosting them again in our own backyard at Loftus this coming weekend.

Before they turn their attention to the Lions, Matanzima said they must deal with the highly unpredictable Cheetahs.

“Cheetahs are always a tricky team to play against,” he said.

“They play a very different style of rugby to what we are accustomed to. It is another big game for us and a good test for the squad having to play two games in a week.”

For the clash against the Cheetahs, Gert Smal has put together a team with a balance of youth and experience to be captained by Cornal Hendricks.

Hendricks, who missed the win over the Lions last weekend, will be part of the centre pairing with Stedman Gans in the backline while winger Stravino Jacobs makes a return to the starting XV.

Teenage flanker Cameron Hanekom will earn a starting berth at blindside flank where he will partner up with WJ Steenkamp on the openside and Muller Uys at No 8.

The Bulls will unleash a solid starting front row that includes Gerhard Steenekamp at loosehead prop, Robert Hunt on the other side of the scrum and Schalk Erasmus starting in the No 2 jumper.

“The team had a week’s break after the opening two matches of the Carling Currie Cup season where we have had an opportunity to work on areas we felt we needed to improve and those we felt we could further enhance where we thought we did well in the matches against the Airlink Pumas and DHL Western Province,” said Smal.

“We have the tough task of facing a dangerous Toyota Cheetahs team who we know will give us a good challenge. We expect the side from Bloemfontein to come to Loftus Versfeld highly motivated and they will give us both a physical and running game on Wednesday night.”

Bulls team: David Kriel, Sibongile Novuka, Stedman Gans, Cornal Hendricks, Stravino Jacobs, Chris Smith, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Muller Uys, Cameron Hanekom, WJ Steenkamp, Janko Swanepoel, Reinhardt Ludwig, Robert Hunt, Schalk Erasmus, Gerhard Steenekamp

Replacements: Joe van Zyl, Lizo Gqoboka, Sebastian Lombard, Raynard Roets, Jaco Labuschagne, Keagan Johannes, FC du Plessis, Richard Kriel

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