Applicable experience could be one of the Bulls’ best trump cards in the Currie Cup final against the Sharks in Durban next week.
If coach Frans Ludeke makes only the one expected change – Akona Ndungane in for John Mametsa on the right wing – to the team that beat the Cheetahs in their semifinal, fullback Zane Kirchner and flank Deon Stegmann will be the only Cup final debutants in their starting lineup.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that flank Wikus van Heerden and prop Gurthrö Steenkamp have not played in a final for the Bulls, but have done so for other provinces.
Van Heerden played for the Lions at Ellis Park in 2002, when the Bulls won 31-7. Steenkamp was a substitute for the Cheetahs in the 2004 final, which the Bulls won 42-33.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield played in his first Currie Cup final in 2002. Now he, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and flyhalf Morné Steyn are preparing to play in their fourth final.
The Bulls won two of the three finals in which Matfield has played (in 2002 and 2004). They lost in his other final, in 2005.
Du Preez was in the winning team in 2003 and 2004 and on the losing side in 2005.
Steyn’s first Cup final was in 2004, when he came on as a substitute. He was at flyhalf in 2005 when the Cheetahs beat the Bulls, and also came on as a substitute in 2006.
If Ndungane fails a fitness test, Mametsa will bring some Cup final experience to the team. He was in the squad in 2003, when the Bulls beat the Sharks 40-18.Tweet