Jake White says the Vodacom Bulls are eager to be tested against a Sharks team set to be boosted by a number of Springboks, including Siya Kolisi and Makazole Mapimpi.
With the South African Vodacom United Rugby Championship teams heading back into action this week, the Sharks, who face the Bulls on Friday, will have their tails up after being bolstered by the return of international stars.
The Bulls are wary of the daunting task that lies ahead where they will be involved in what is close to a Test match against a side with no fewer than nine Springboks and additional other players who have been on international duty recently.
“I said to the players that we get to play all these good sides – we played the South Africa A team this year, and now it seems like we will be playing the Springboks this weekend,” said Bulls director of rugby White ahead of the SA derby.
“The Sharks have nine Springboks back, they have a Scottish international, a Samoan international and an Australian international. It does not get much tougher than that. The Sharks, playing at home, with all those international players will be massive for us. I can tell you: we are very excited that we will get to measure ourselves against what is essentially an international side now again. There’s a bit of a buzz, it’s like a Test match for us.”
Despite having had matches against European teams Munster and Scarlets postponed, the Bulls are eager to take on the talented Durban side in a repeat of the previous two Carling Currie Cup finals.
“We have been growing slowly in the past 18 months or so, and we look forward to seeing where we are against a team that has guys like Bongi [Mbonambi], Ox [Nche], Lukhanyo [Am], Siya [Kolisi] and Makazole Mapimpi – guys who have played against England in a rematch of the World Cup final a couple of weeks ago,” said White.
“So, it’s a massive test for us to see where we are – whether we are good enough to handle that sort of pressure going into an away game against a star-studded Cell C Sharks side that also includes a Samoan international [OJ Noa], an Australian international [Ben Tapuai] and a Scottish international [Dylan Richardson].”
The match kicks off at 7pm on Friday at Kings Park.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix