VIDEO: Bok lock to 'elevate' Newlands battle
CURRIE CUP SPOTLIGHT: The prospect of a ‘rematch’ with their line-out menace, Lodewyk de Jager, is giving Western Province some sleepless nights.
De Jager will make his comeback from shoulder surgery when he starts at lock for the Blue Bulls against Province at Newlands on Saturday.
The outing is to give the 26-year-old some game time, before joining up with the Springboks for the start of the Rugby Championship next week where South Africa host Australia at Ellis Park.
However, the WP players will have some wretched memories of their previous encounter with the rangy Bok second row forward.
In the opening round of Super Rugby back in February, De Jager caused havoc – as the Bulls demolished the Stormers 40-3 in Pretoria.
The influence of the 38-times capped lock is a talking point ahead of this coming Saturday’s big north-south derby – when WP host the Bulls.
Seasoned hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni when you face the Bulls, it is always a set piece battle.
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“Lodewyk [de Jager] will be controlling [the line-outs] and leading [the contest] up front,” Ntubeni told a media briefing in the build-up to the weekend’s encounter.
He spoke of the preparation work the Bulls do before big games and the influence they have on the outcome.
“Lodewyk will sit on a Sunday and work for three or four hours, looking at our line-outs,” the WP hooker said, adding: “On Monday he will present [his options] to the team.
“He really enjoys it [the analysing] and puts a lot of effort in.”
It is a traditional strength of the Bulls and this week will be no different.
“The Bulls, since the days of Victor [Matfield], they have focussed on their line-outs,” Ntubeni said.
“It will be a lot tougher with Lodewyk there, but it is a part of the game.”
He added that the abridged nature of the Currie Cup competition – a single round of six matches – means no team can afford a bad start.
“We have to hit the road running,” Ntubeni said of a game against dangerous opposition.
“We have received 50 points [a hiding] at Loftus and we have given them 50 points at Newlands.
“This [WP] is a very young side, but we have quite a bit of experience, especially in the forwards, and it made it a lot easier.”
By Jan de Koning