VIDEO: Du Preez to ‘sharpen up’ Bulls No.9s
REACTION: Renowned 2007 World Cup-winning scrumhalf Fourie Du Preez will play a valuable role in the Bulls’ Super Rugby Unlocked season.
Bulls Director of Rugby and coach Jake White revealed that Du Preez has returned to the Pretoria franchise as a part-time coaching consultant.
The Springbok legend, who was at the heart of the Bulls’ Super Rugby successes in 2007, 2009 and 2010, will be working closely alongside Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl.
The pair were touted to join the World Cup 2019 squad. However, a disastrous 2019 season saw both of them nowhere near a Springbok call-up.
Rassie Erasmus, instead, opted for Herschel Jantjies and Cobus Reinach, along with Faf De Klerk (first-choice scumhalf), for the World Cup side.
Nonetheless, this season under Jake White and being taught by the best in the business in the shape of Du Preez, Van Zyl and Papier have the perfect opportunity to fine-tune their skills.
“Last year, they [Papier and Van Zyl] were a bit disappointed that they couldn’t get any rhythm, as both wanted to play a lot,” White told reporters via a virtual press conference.
“This year, we brought in Fourie du Preez and he helps them weekly to sharpen up their game. We are honest with both of them, and they understand that there are two tournaments in one – the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup.
“Within three months, it is impossible to play the same guy every week and they are both happy that they will get enough game time and it’s a chance for the Bulls to test combinations. Just like [TJ] Perenara and [Aaron] Smith [at the All Blacks], it is important to give both players opportunities.”
*Article continues below…
Last weekend, Van Zyl started against the Griquas and his structured approach placed huge pressure on his team.
This Friday the pacey Papier will don the No.9 jersey against Cheetahs, who are known for their expansive brand of rugby.
“I always said Embrose will get some game time. It was never a question that he was the number two. We have two great halfbacks and it gives him some opportunity to get some game time seeing that he didn’t play that much against the Griquas.”
White added: “The Cheetahs make lots of line-breaks, and Embrose is one of the quickest as well.
“They give a lot of line-breaks as well, and conceded about eight in the last game. If we can make some line-breaks and get guys like Jade Stighling and Embrose Papier running through those holes, then we will get some try-scoring opportunities.
“It actually works out quite nicely, as I’d like to see Embrose start a game. I’d like to see how he combines with that backline, and to see whether we counter the Cheetahs’ pace.”