Bulls to back Hendricks at 12

Cornal Hendricks has hinted that he is likely to continue playing in the Vodacom Bulls midfield when Super Rugby Unlocked gets under way this weekend.

Bulls director of rugby and head coach Jake White made a somewhat surprise move when he named Hendricks at inside centre for their Super Fan Saturday clash with the Sharks two weeks ago.

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Hendricks had up to that point played most of his rugby at wing, but was briefly tried at outside centre under previous head coach Pote Human.

However, the shift in position was a massive success, with Hendricks firing well as the Bulls outplayed the Sharks in a 49-28 victory. During that match, he offered the Bulls a direct option as their backline tore through the Sharks’ defence.

The Bulls will get their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign started this weekend with an intriguing match against Griquas in Pretoria on Saturday.

While Hendricks did not want to give too much away about the team that would be starting at Loftus Versfeld, he told the Citizen that he has White’s backing to continue in midfield.

‘Coach Jake said he wanted to try lots of combinations and if it works, then it works, so my focus is there now,’ Hendricks said. ‘I’ll play anywhere in the backline, except scrumhalf or flyhalf. But I took a lot of confidence out of that game.

‘The coach wants us to express ourselves in our positions. All teams want a big, physical No 12, but coach Jake also wanted me to get momentum and play some rugby. He said if I can find space then I must get it, be confident and just play if there’s space. We have incredible outside backs and we just want to get the ball in their hands.

‘Coach Jake is a very intelligent and smart coach and it’s an honour and privilege to work with him. He has a different coaching style and he wants you to feel comfortable in the team. He has a winning mindset, which we need after the tough times we’ve been through, but now we have that mindset when we train as well. And he really backs the individuals in the team.’

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Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images