AUDIO: Midfield showdown adds spice to Loftus derby
LISTEN as Sevens star Ruhan Nel speaks about facing off against a Springbok regular in his Super Rugby debut.
The Bulls against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld. That is enough to get the adrenaline flowing.
Now throw in nearly 20 Springboks and you have a really racy affair.
One of the main attractions in this cauldron is the midfield battle.
The Stormers will have the Sevens convert, Ruhan Nel, alongside Bok stalwart Damian de Allende (78 on the RPI) – going up against De Allende regular Bok partner Jessie Kriel (76 on the RPI) and Burger Odendaal (61 on RPI).
Nel said he is “very excited”, despite the daunting nature of the contest.
It is the man on his inside that is helping remain calm ahead of his Super Rugby debut.
“For any outside centre it is a dream to have the Bok inside centre next to you,” Nel said of playing alongside De Allende.
“The experience he brings is very calming for me as well.”
The two played together a few times in last year’s Currie Cup, but it will be the first time they combine in a Super Rugby match.
“On the [Boks’] year-end tour we got to know each other well,” Nel said.
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The other engaging aspect of the midfield battle is that Nel will face off against Jessie Kriel – his Stormers teammate’s regular midfield partner in the Bok team.
“I trained against Jessie on the year-end tour and he is a very talented player that knows his job well,” the Stormers No.13 said.
“Make no mistake, it is going to be tough. He takes a lot of pride in his work.
“It is a nice challenge to have, making your Super Rugby debut against the Springbok No.13.”
Nel said that he is comfortable with his game ahead of his Super Rugby debut.
“The body isn’t moving quite as fast as it used to at Sevens, but you need to pick up a bit [of weight] for Super Rugby.
“I am happy with where I am. I still have a lot to learn.”
He said they will take a lot of confidence from having beaten the Bulls in the SuperSunday pre-season match.