Vodacom Blue Bulls utility-back Stefan Basson says he is gutted at having to watch from the sidelines on a weekly basis.
The Springbok Seven’s star deputised for Johan Roets at fullback earlier in the year and was sensational. But the 24-year-old was sidelined upon his return and despite getting a run-on start at wing against Griquas on Saturday, he again trades grass for wood when the Bulls host the Vodacom Cheetahs this weekend.
He expressed his disappointed at his lack of game time since his move north from Vodacom Western Province and provided insight into Pote Human’s preference for Roets.
“When I got my chance people were saying that it would be hard for Johan to get back into the side because my form at fullback was so good,” he told keo.co.za.
“But Johan is an experienced player and the coach told me that he needed that experience at fullback,” he said dejectedly. “It’s never great to give up your place especially if you’ve been playing some good rugby.”
Seven’s players have been phenomenal in the Absa Currie Cup this season. Lions centre Jaco Pretorius is the form player of the tournament, while WP fullback Gio Aplon, Cheetahs wing Philip Burger and Sharks loose forward Ryan Kankowski have tempered the bludgeoning approach that has characterised the competition with exemplary displays of intelligent running lines and mesmerizing displays of ball-handling.
But at 1.76m and 82kg, Basson’s diminutive form seems grossly misplaced in a team of behemoths. And while Basson acknowledges that he is at a disadvantage in contact situations, he insists that the value he adds to the backline from an attacking perspective outweighs any vulnerability he might have on defence.
“Counter-attacking is my greatest strength, and at fullback and wing I get the space to exploit the defence of the opposition and take players on,” he asserted.
“That’s when I’m most dangerous.”
Despite his lot, Basson remains optimistic about his team’s chance of victory against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
When the teams last met, the Cheetahs backs were woeful and relied on the boot of Willem de Waal to slot four penalties in their 24-12 loss. Basson though warned of a backline backlash from Rassie Erasmus’ side.
“Their back three are devastating on the counter-attack and we will have to make absolutely sure of our touch kicks and conceding turnovers.
“Willem will be key for them again, and our discipline will have to be excellent because he can slot kicks from anywhere.
“From our perspective this game is huge and there’ll be no place for regrets when it’s done.”
By Ryan Vrede