Springbok wing Bryan Habana could be at fullback when the Bulls play the Chiefs in a Super 14 rugby match in Rotorua, New Zealand, on Saturday.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was unwilling to discuss possible team changes on Sunday but after the 40-8 defeat to the Reds in Brisbane he may be have to consider switching the try-scoring ace to No 15.
The champions could not have started their tour of Australasia on a worse note and now have to get their campaign back on track.
It is clear that Morné Steyn is not the answer at fullback while Zane Kirchner serves out his suspension. And it is also clear that Steyn can add much value at inside centre.
Without a specialist fullback in the tour squad the Bulls had to gamble with Steyn at the back.
However, after the Brisbane match the coaching staff could entrust the fullback duties to Habana, who played there against the Lions after Kirchner was sent off for a spear tackle.
Steyn and Wynand Olivier should be the centres against the Chiefs after their impressive performance against the Lions. JP Nel is likely to lose his place in midfield.
Up front, young No 8 Dewald Potgieter cannot be kept out of the starting lineup any longer.
Talents are wasted on the flank
The Bulls were again vulnerable at breakdown points against the Reds. They will need Potgieter’s speed and anticipation against the Chiefs.
For the same reason, Ludeke will also have to give preference to Deon Stegmann’s ball skills, making Wikus van Heerden the only member of last week’s loose-forward trio to retain his place.
Even if Wilhelm Steenkamp had not been injured against the Reds, Ludeke would have had to make room at lock for Danie Rossouw, whose talents are wasted on the flank.
Ludeke said the performance against the Reds was inexcusable but he feels there is no reason to panic.
“We understand the disappointment and frustration back home because we feel the same way. But it will do more harm than good to point fingers now,” Ludeke said on Sunday.
“We should rather use this week to do some self-examination and concentrate on the match against the Chiefs with new energy, dynamics and urgency.
“Against the Reds, we had at least two early opportunities to score tries. We again failed to do so and put ourselves under pressure as a result.”
Ludeke said the players had accepted responsibility for their mistakes and it was unfair to describe them as an undisciplined team with a careless attitude.
Substitute hooker James van der Walt, who was injured in Brisbane, is on his way home. He will be replaced in the squad by Bandise Maku.Tweet