- The Bulls will seemingly fight fire with fire by selecting Clinton Swart to counter Frans Steyn when they take on the Cheetahs.
- The 27-year-old inside centre, a former Cheetah, has a reputation for being a direct player and could stand up well to his Springbok opponent.
- Jake White, the Bulls’ director of rugby, though also notes it’s part of his journey of discovery to get to know his players better.
There’s little scientific evidence to suggest that rock will break rock but Jake White, at least in rugby terms, is going to give it a bash anyway.
With the imposing presence of Frans Steyn looming for his Bulls in their Super Rugby Unlocked meeting with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday evening, White is going to counter the threat with Clinton Swart.
The 27-year-old utility back – equally adept at inside centre or flyhalf – will make his debut for the team from Loftus, ironically against his former teammates and boasts a feisty reputation that is hoped will disrupt his illustrious Springbok opponent.
Swart, who played under White in Japan for Toyota Verblitz, is significantly shorter than Steyn yet packs a punch in midfield.
“I suppose in a way his selection is designed to counter Frans,” said White.
“I know what Frans can offer. If we give Frans lots of gainline, they’ll play off of him, so in a lot of ways it had an influence on Clinton’s selection.”
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Chris Massyn, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 William Small-Smith
15 Gio Aplon, 14 David Kriel, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Stedman Gans
But it’s not the sole reason for the Bulls’ director of rugby breaking up a promising combination of Stedman Gans and Cornal Hendricks.
White has made no secret of the fact that he’s on a journey of discovery still, steadily gaining better insights into players he hasn’t worked with extensively previously.
“I don’t really know all these players, so I’d like to try different combinations. It gives me a chance to see them play,” he said.
“At the same time I think we can appreciate that we’re not going to get away with playing Stedman and Cornal every week. Clinton has trained really well, he comes from Free State and played for the Cheetahs, so he probably knows the stadium well.”
Corniel van Zyl, Cheetahs assistant coach, isn’t expecting anything less from the Bulls.
“Frans made a very good debut for us. He’s a Springbok and I’m convinced they have been working on a plan to contain him,” he said.
“He’s a strong runner and an important component both on attack and defence, but whether they target him actively remains to be seen.”
Kick-off is at 19:00.
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