Serfontein gets his Currie Cup chance
IRB Junior Player of the year Jan Serfontein will get his first chance in the big leagues after being named on the bench for the Vodacom Blue Bulls ahead of Friday’s night’s Absa Currie Cup opener against Griquas at Loftus Versfeld.
Serfontein, who was a sensation in the SA under-20 squad on their way to the IRB Junior World Championship title, has been fast-tracked into the Currie Cup squad after playing two under-21 games since returning from the Baby Boks and is likely to make his Currie Cup debut on Friday when he comes on in the second half.
The Bulls named a youthful side, which has lost 10 players to the Springboks for the Castle Rugby Championship, and will be led by flanker Dewald Potgieter as coach Pine Pienaar made some interesting selections.
Serfontein’s name on the bench was the first to catch the eye, and he will be tested as he will have to cover wing for the Bulls as well this weekend against a hungry and dangerous Griquas backline.
Then there was the selection of Ulrich Beyers at 13, with the under-21 utility back, who has been playing some great rugby this season at junior level, equally adept at fullback.
Beyers also gives the Bulls an extra option with his big boot and is primarily there because midfielder Johann Sadie is still injured and unavailable for selection this week.
Beyers will be partnered by the impressive Francois Venter, and the two will have their work cut out for them as they are expected to face former Bulls Stefan Watermeyer and JP Nel in the Griquas backline.
Then there is the selection of Frik Kirsten ahead of Bok Werner Kruger at tighthead, although Pienaar pointed out that Kruger had played the majority of the Super Rugby season and needed to take a backseat for one game.
Arno Botha’s elevation ahead of CJ Stander can only be attributed to his good showing against the Lions last Friday night, and the young flanker partners Potgieter and Deon Stegmann at the back of the scrum.
A lot is expected of young Cornell Hess at lock, and the former Baby Bok has recovered from a bad neck injury last year and will be keen to make an impact alongside Wilhelm Steenkamp.
New recruit Grant Hattingh from the Lions is also on the bench alongside former Stormer Lionel Cronje, who kicked the winning conversion in the warm-up game against the Lions last Friday.
Louis Fouche, who warmed the bench for Morne Steyn during the Super Rugby season, starts at 10 for the Bulls.
VODACOM BLUE BULLS: Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, Ulrich Beyers, Francois Venter, Clayton Blommetjies, Louis Fouchè, Ruan Snyman, Dewald Potgieter (c), Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann, Cornell Hess, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Frik Kirsten, Willie Wepener, Dawie Steyn. Replacements: Robbie Coetzee, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh, CJ Stander, Lohan Jacobs, Lionel Cronjè, Jan Serfontein.