Mercurial playmaker Jaco van der Westhuyzen feels he has finally come home.
The return of van der Westhuyzen to the Bulls starting line-up for Saturday’s must win Vodacom Super 14 clash with the Cats is his destiny, says the Springbok.
The former Leicester and NEC (Japan) flyhalf has been included at fullback for the match and is relishing the chance to breathe in the Highveld air. “I’m really looking forward to it,” van der Westhuyzen told keo.co.za. “I’m really enjoying being back at the Bulls. I know the players and coaches and I’m fitting in well.”
Van der Westhuyzen says his favourite position is flyhalf, but one gets the feeling he is so eager to play top class rugby on SA soil, he would have packed down at loosehead prop if asked. “It was difficult being away, but I really feel this is where I belong. I’m really happy everything has been sorted out.”
“Fullback and flyhalf are two different positions and I prefer being more involved, but at fullback you usually have more space so I’m excited, especially with Frikkie (Welsh) and Bryan (Habana) there.
The trio form a new-look back three combination that could make some serious yards against a Cats side lacking a leader, confidence and playing at fortress Loftus.
“No game in the Super 14 is easy,” warns van der Westhuyzen, “and we know we can’t just pitch up and expect the crowd to lift us. The guys were disappointed on the tour and we are keen to put the record straight.”
With a semi-final spot still a slim possibility, the Cats may be in for a tough afternoon. The Bulls backlash after the poor results in Australsia could see the Cats getting hammered in Pretoria. And van der Westhuyzen’s pace and skill could be just the catalyst.
By Andrew Hollely