The Bulls appear to have pulled of a major coup, luring three Cheetahs Super Rugby starters to Pretoria ahead of next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Despite a youth program that sees roughly 60% of the cream of schoolboy rugby players head to Loftus each year, the Bulls have once again found their young crop wanting and have rather reached for the cheque book to bolster their faltering pack.
Cheetahs skipper Adriaan Strauss will come in to fill the void at hooker caused by the departure of Chilliboy Ralepelle. Despite having a capable youngster in the ranks in Bongi Mbonami – who has worked his way up through the system – the Bulls’ baffling decision to rather start the limited Callie Visagie seems to have poisoned that well. It’s understood that Strauss will assume the Bulls’ captaincy.
Another pair of players in whom the Bulls have invested much seem set to lose out, with Bok loosehead Trevor Nyakane understood to be joining Strauss in the move to Pretoria. Dean Greyling and Morne Mellett are stalwarts of the Bulls system, having come up through the ranks, but at least one now looks set to be discarded in favour of a player bought in from elsewhere.
Bok squad member Lappies Labuschagne is the third Cheetahs player heading to Loftus; strangely, though, his preferred position, blindside flank, is one in which the Bulls already have good young depth in the form of Arno Botha and Jacques du Plessis. With the Bulls’ most glaring problem this year cause by their lack of an openside flanker, it looks as though they’ve gone and bought the wrong thing.
Then again, it remains to be seen whether Frans Ludeke actually understands that there is such a thing as an opensider; his insistence on selecting Jonno Ross in the number 6 jersey would suggest not.Tweet