Reports coming from Pretoria indicate that Bulls supremo Frans Ludeke looks set to spring a surprise for the visiting Sharks.
Pretoria’s favourite son, the only flyhalf in Super Rugby to have a dedicated theme song, Derick “Liefling” Hougaard looks set to pay the price for a woefully inept performance against the Crusaders. The talk is that Hougaard will find himself on the bench this weekend with perennial understudy Morné Steyn given the number 10 shirt for the crunch match against the Sharks.
Hougaard is a very traditional flyhalf and likes to play his rugby a good way back from the scrum. It’s just possible that the Bulls are slowly realising that this sort of play is unlikely to be truly effective under the Experimental Law Variations that are being trialled in this year’s competition. The new game would appear to favour a flyhalf taking the ball flat and creating opportunities for those around him through superior distribution. That has never been Hougaard’s game.
Although Steyn is a far more direct option and does offer a reasonably capable boot, this does start to look a little like the politics of desperation; Hougaard’s replacement has put in some solid performances at Currie Cup level in the past, but has always been found wanting when asked to step up at Super Rugby level. Steyn is a confidence player and if he gets a few things wrong early on, has been known to go to pieces, with both his hands and his defence letting him down badly on such occasions.
He will need to be on top of his game to keep the wiley Fred Michalak in check.Tweet