Fresh from a try-scoring debut for the Vodacom Bulls, Sergeal Petersen expressed his delight to be back in a “competitive” environment after a stint in Japan. DYLAN JACK reports.
Petersen dotted down in his first appearance in blue as the Vodacom Bulls bounced back from a loss to Ulster in an 11-try festival against Zebre in Parma.
“It felt good to be out there again, especially in a competitive competition,” the winger told the media on Monday.
“Also, with the team that we had on the day, the type of rugby that we played, it was a very expansive game, something that I really like, so it was just good for me to get my hands on the ball. All in all, it was just a good outing.”
After helping the DHL Stormers win the Vodacom URC against his current employers, Petersen took the opportunity to experience something different by moving to Yokohama and joining the Shimizu Blue Sharks.
However, when the opportunity arose to join Jake White’s overhaul and return to one of the most intense club leagues, the 29-year-old did not have to think too hard about returning to South Africa.
“Firstly, I just wanted to be in a competitive setup again,” Petersen said. “As I have alluded to, this is going to be very competitive, with the depth we have in the outside backs.
“This is another opportunity for me to test myself against the best and play with the best. I think I am in good company here. That was one of the biggest factors behind coming back to South Africa and, specificially, the Bulls.”
The Vodacom Bulls boast an enviable depth in their outside back division, which will only be enhanced by the return of World Cup-winning Springboks Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a fight or anything like that,” Petersen said about the competition for starting places.
“We all have our specific roles within the squad. We know they are world champions. A guy like Canan hasn’t played a lot of rugby recently, so I am sure he will be ready to go when he gets back this side.
“We all have certain roles that we need to fulfill within the squad and when they come back, it’s for us as a squad to feed off their success. Hopefully, they can add that fire to our squad so we can go from strength to strength.”
The Vodacom Bulls next face Cardiff on Friday night, before finishing their four-week tour in Edinburgh a week later.
“It’s a massive difference from the heat in Pretoria to the cold, rainy weather this side,” Petersen said. “This weekend is going to be a tough one against Cardiff. We expect that and are prepared for that.
“We need to do what we can and stick to our guns.
“Even just with one win, this tour would be successful,” he added. “I don’t think many of the teams in this competition tour very well. We are very happy with where we are at the moment. Hopefully, we can keep it going in our favour this weekend and in the last game against Edinburgh.”
Photo: Roberto Bregani/Gallo Images