De Villiers predicts ‘fantastic tussle’ between Bulls and Sharks
Former Bok captain expects an epic derby despite Bulls enjoying home-ground advantage
Former Bok captain Jean de Villiers believes the return of members of the current Springbok squad, combined with “something special” being created this season by the Bulls, will make for an epic United Rugby Championship (URC) derby against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a fantastic tussle. We’ve seen the change in performance from both teams with some of their Springboks back. These games between local franchises are always big and I suppose playing at home at Loftus will be to the benefit of the Bulls,” De Villiers said.
Willie le Roux has already made a significant difference to the Pretoria franchise, De Villiers said. “I thought his debut last weekend went really well, and having a player like that at the back just gives that stability and really helps the Bulls.
“The Bulls are looking as though they are creating something special. It’s a nice mix of players there. Jaco van der Walt has added a lot of value and then Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse add a lot of value to any team they come into. That’s a very dangerous back three there.”
As for the Sharks, De Villiers said the impact of their Springboks can also not be overstated. “The Sharks had a very poor start to the season and then managed to get it back on track last weekend.
“No doubt the influence of an Eben Etzebeth, Ox Nche, Lukhanyo Am, Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams — all those players — is huge for the Sharks.
“But you also need to realise it’s difficult for these Springboks after being on such a high and then a short break to come in and still put in performances like they have,” De Villiers said.
“It just shows the quality of the individuals. They don’t just bring value from a personal point of view, but also to the players they play with who feed off them and are better players for it as well.”
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