Bulls drop Sadie
The Vodacom Bulls have taken an interesting step in dropping midfielder Johann Sadie from the match 22 to face the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.
While it will be contended that the move is a squad rotation, as JJ Engelbrecht moves back into the midfield to partner Wynand Olivier and Francois Venter comes onto the bench, Sadie has been stuggling to come to terms with his defensive role in the side all season and with the game against the Stormers being a must win, the change was necessitated.
Sadie hasn’t had the best of seasons, but has been solid on attack, although there have not been enough openings for him to show his fleet feet on attack when he has seen the ball.
But it is on defence that he has been exploited, often following the wrong line, and he has been caught out several times as holes open in the midfield for the opposition.
The move will hopefully shake up the midfield a bit, with Engelbrecht using his chances more effectively and Venter seen as one of the stars of the future.
Engelbrecht’s return to the starting line-up is one of two changes to the side that lost to the Chiefs in Hamilton last week.
Lock Juandre Kruger gets another chance to stake a Bok claim when he moves back into the No 5 jersey to face Andries Bekker and look to exploit the Stormers' lineout.
The challenge is a massive one for Kruger, who has been one of the form players of the Super Rugby season thus far, and if he can succeed in denting Andries Bekker’s reputation a bit further after a mediocre showing against the Sharks, he may well boost his own Bok chances a little more.
Both Engelbrecht and Kruger started their rugby careers in Cape Town before moving to the Bulls and have flourished since arriving in Pretoria.
Last week’s star Dewald Potgieter also gets a chance to shine as he runs out for his 50th game for the Bulls. In the end, despite making a return to fitness, Potgieter’s namesake Jacques was given another week to recover from his knee injury.
Coach Frans Ludeke said the match was a must-win for the Bulls, who now sit only two points behind the Stormers on the South African conference ladder.
“We must win, and that’s why we always say we take it week for week. This weekend is a must-win for all the teams. You can’t afford to lose,” Ludeke said. “We must be accurate, we must be good. We must do what we need to do to get the result.”
A victory could go a long way to settling the conference with the Sharks breathing down both sides’ necks at the moment.
Vodacom Bulls: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies (capt), CJ Stander, Dewald Potgieter, Juandre Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Willie Wepener, Rayno Gerber, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouche, Francois Venter.