Jake White can’t wait to welcome back the Vodacom Bulls’ World Cup winners, yet the director of rugby will consider leaving out the quartet a bit longer if the team is on a roll.
Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux and Marco van Staden have just completed a countrywide trophy tour with the Springboks in celebration of the South Africans’ defence of their title in France.
They are expected to rejoin the Bulls at training in Pretoria after The Herd returns from a four-week tour overseas in the Vodacom URC.
The Bulls trampled Zebre-Parma on Saturday, and speaking post-match in Italy, White told reporters: “Obviously we cannot wait to have that energy of the Springboks. You can imagine coming back from winning a World Cup, the kind of energy and enthusiasm they’ll bring to our squad.
“But what is also nice is the guys that are playing in the positions that those players can play, are also playing really well and that’s always nice as a coach when you’ve got so many more opportunities to sort of change your team around.
“Who knows, maybe we might leave the Boks out. They’ve got a compulsory three-week time off, and then when we get back, they’ll join our squad. If we’ve got momentum, I might give them another week off.”
On the eight-try, bonus-point mauling of Zebre, the Bulls boss added: “To be fair, they [Zebre] scored 36 points against Ulster and 31 points against Ospreys so we probably kept them lower with 29 points.
“Not ideal, you never want to leave points, but in saying that, they are a team that can score a lot of points as you’ve seen in the first three weeks.I think people come here and underestimate Zebre at their peril. Zebre are not as poor as everyone thinks they are.
“When they attacked, and they asked questions of our defence, they asked good questions and we had to make good reads.
“Their set-piece, they maul very well, we didn’t give them a maul penalty and we scrummed really well. Because they are a very strong scrum.
“They were in a chance to scrum Ulster to a win, so we obviously focused on our scrum and our maul so I am obviously very happy with that.”
The Bulls tackle Cardiff at Arms Park on Friday night, before locking horns with Edinburgh next week, and White is under no illusions as to the challenge that still awaits.
“Winning anywhere, if you look at results last week, I don’t think an away team won anywhere. So it’s got nothing to do with South African sides coming here. Sides that went from here to Wales and to Ireland lost as well,” he said.
“What I mean is, in between the UK, sides also lost. It’s tough to win away from home. We saw last night, the Sharks and the Stormers lost, and that means it is so much tougher to win away from home.”