Cyle Brink says the nature of the last-gasp loss to the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld earlier this season has the Vodacom Bulls looking for revenge in Saturday’s return game in Cape Town.
The Bulls will travel down to Cape Town to take on the Stormers in a Vodacom United Rugby Championship derby.
Saturday’s game could have huge ramifications for both teams in the URC. Just one point separates the sixth-placed Stormers (43 points) from the seventh-placed Bulls (42), with Edinburgh in fifth (44). A loss for any of the three SA front-runners will take the pressure off the top five.
The Bulls will be further fuelled by what happened between the two teams in Pretoria in January. Despite coming back from an 18-point deficit in the first half to take an eight-point lead, the Bulls suffered a 30-26 loss at home as the Stormers scored a 76th-minute try to snatch the game.
That was the first time the Stormers had won at Loftus Versfeld since 2017.
Despite the match being crucial for both teams in their efforts to ensure a spot in the URC playoffs, Brink is adamant that the Bulls are excited for Saturday as they look for payback against their historic rivals.
“We’re not really feeling any pressure. The coaches have given us a clear guideline of how they want us to play. The camp is happy, and that is always good and important for us,” Brink said ahead of the SA derby.
“At the moment, there’s really no pressure, but maybe closer to the game we’ll feel a bit of the usual nerves, but right now we’re all happy and focused on getting the job done.
“To lose on Loftus leaves a bit of a sour taste in our mouths, so it would be nice to get one up on them — especially on their home field — and we’d like to get a bit of that back. I think it’s something we’re really looking forward to.”
Brink, who joined the Bulls at the start of the new year from English club Leicester Tigers, is one of the Pretoria-based side’s most recent and exciting signings.
Despite starting his time in Pretoria with an injury that prevented him from playing in a number of matches in the early part of the year, the 28-year-old has made his presence felt on the field in the previous few matches he has featured for the men in blue.
“I’m really enjoying being back in South Africa, being close to family and friends,” Brink reflected on his return to SA.
“Being overseas was a bit of a tough time, being away from home and in lockdown. So, it’s really great being back home.
“Talking about the two different styles of rugby – the English Premiership is a little bit more of kicking and playing off mistakes, whereas in the Vodacom URC we have a lot of freedom to play and really enjoy our rugby. Those are the two major differences. But, in rugby there is a place for both of those types of games.”
Brink is wary of the dangers posed by a strong Stormers side, especially in their own backyard.
“They are a good team. They’ve got a good set piece, and a lot of good individuals that play really well and can break the game open,” he said.
“We just need to stick to our structures and what we do, and the result is not something we can control. But if we stick to our structures and everybody shows up on the day, hopefully we can get the result.”
Jake White will name the Bulls team to face the Stormers on Friday.
Photo: EJ Langner/Gallo Images