After a massive exodus of players the Vodacom Bulls will be eager to see development in their Vodacom Super Rugby squad. ANDRE HUISAMEN looks at a few youngsters who could crack the nod this year.
Roelof Smit’s departure to the Lions has opened the door for Uys to make a breakthrough in the Bulls team this year. His performance during their SuperHero Sunday victory over the Lions suggests that coach Pote Human has confidence in the young man’s proven abilities. The 21-year-old was a powerhouse during his schoolboy days at Paarl Gymnasium, rising as one of the standout players of his age before representing the Junior Springboks in France in 2018. The Bulls, though, have a number of loose forwards fighting to stay in selection contention. He missed out on a place in the 23-man squad for Friday night’s opener against the Sharks, but will certainly be relishing the opportunity to get ahead of players such as Abongile Nonkontwana, Jeandre Rudolph and Wian Vosloo.
The 22-year-old prop had a breakthrough year at the Bulls in 2019 and has earned his spot on the bench for the clash with the Sharks in Durban this weekend. Matanzima looks to have a bright future and has impressed Human massively. He featured in the majority of last year’s Super Rugby campaign after making his debut in the Bulls’ opening-round win over the Stormers and also represented the union in the shortened Currie Cup competition. Matanzima is a strong scrummager and works endlessly across the field in all departments. 2020 could be a very promising year for him and he might have his eye on a possible Springbok berth in the near future.
The flyhalf gained a lot of experience after playing at the Pumas for the past two years where he won the SuperSport Challenge with them in 2018 and finished as the highest point-scorer in the competition. He joined up with the Bulls after last year’s Currie Cup campaign and immediately got a run-on in the SuperHero Sunday win over the Lions. Smith has an excellent ability of reading the game and has proved that since his early Varsity Cup days at Maties. Handre Pollard’s departure has left quite a void at the Bulls, which saw Human lure Morne Steyn back to Pretoria. With Manie Libbok the only other flyhalf option, the coach could use Smith at some stage this season to see how the 25-year-old copes under Super Rugby conditions.
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