The Vodacom Blue Bulls have called on the line-out expertise of Springbok lock Victor Matfield ahead of their crucial Absa Currie Cup semi-final.
Coach, Pote Human confirmed that Matfield would be utilised on a full-time basis this week in the role of line-out consultant, after a less than convincing performance in the set phase by the Pretoria-based team against the Vodacom Cheetahs.
“We gave away unnecessary possession in the line-outs against the Cheetahs and for that reason I’m requesting a special line-out session so that Victor can get to work identifying and fixing our problems immediately,” Human told Morris Gilbert of Beeld.
Vodacom Western Province, the Bulls semi-final opponents, have been impressive in their line-outs this season and again gave an assured performance in this facet of play against the Griquas on Saturday.
Human will certainly be mindful of the Cape side’s ability to capitalise on any sloppiness in the line-outs, as they did in their second-round match at Newlands.
On that evening Francois van der Merwe and Gerrie Britz disrupted the efforts of Franscois van Schouwenburg and Hottie Louw to secure clean ball and subsequently the Bulls backline failed to get going.
Human insisted that his team would have to be dominant in the set phases and thus Matfield’s technical contributions would be vital.
The Bulls seemed to have found top form in the last month, but when probed on possible changes to the side for the Bullring clash, Human hinted that he might welcome back some senior players.
“Consistency is very important, but we would also like to have our strongest team run out against Province,” he said. “That’s why Pedrie Wannenberg, Wynand Olivier and Frikkie Welsh will definitely be considered if they pass fitness tests this week.”
Team doctor, Tommie Smook confirmed that Wannenberg and Olivier had a realistic chance of playing, while Welsh’s prognosis was less favourable.
Outside of that trio, Human says that he was surprised that after Saturday’s physical encounter he only had minor injuries to his players, with prop Rayno Gerber (broken nose) and Derick Hougaard and Hilton Lobberts (minor cuts) almost certain to be fit for the play-off.