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VIDEO: The Stormers stalwart that is key to Bulls' success

The Bulls are flying the South African flag in two European competitions this season – the Champions Cup and the United Rugby Championship.


Ahead of the #BIG North-South derby encounter with the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday, the Bulls are third on the United Rugby Championship standings (with 25 points), ahead of the ninth-placed Lions (19 points), Stormers (10th, 18 points) and Sharks (15th, seven points).

In the South African Shield race – where only matches against fellow South African teams count and just one round completed – the Bulls are also top, followed by the Stormers, Lions and Sharks.

In the Champions Cup, Europe’s main franchise/club competition, the Bulls are also best placed among the two South African teams.

They are third in Pool One, while the Stormers are fourth in Pool Four – both having won one of their two matches this season.

The Cheetahs, Lions and Sharks are competing in the second-tier Challenge Cup.



The Bulls’ success this season can be attributed to the form of their forwards, with some perspicacious recruiting by Director of Rugby Jake White.

When they face off against the arch-rivals in Cape Town on Saturday, one of the key members of the Bulls’ forward amelioration is a former Stormers stalwart – Springbok Andries Bekker.

Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said he is comfortable with the depth they have created in terms of their set-piece resources.

“We have Ruan Nortj√© and Ruan Vermaak – who would normally be our starting locks – sidelined,” he told @rugby365com.


“It is no different than the Stormers – who have lost Salmaan Moerat [to injury] and Marvin Orie [Perpignan].

“The challenge is to find the next [group of] players who can still do that job,” he said – with Reinhardt Ludwig and Janko Swanepoel starting against the Stormers on Saturday.

“I have no doubt our scrum is significantly stronger than it has ever been – not only because of the acquisitions [Akker van der Merwe and Wilco Louw], but we have players who have been around for a while and have improved.

“Mornay Smith, Jan-Hendrik Wessels and Johan Grobbelaar now have almost 50 games under their belt at this level.”

However, talk quickly turned to the role of Cape Town-born and schooled lock Andries Bekker – capped 29 times by the Springboks and significantly having played more than 100 times for the Stormers.

(WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White explains to @king365ed the role of a former Stormers stalwart in the success of the Pretoria-based franchise this season…)

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“Andries Bekker has done an incredible job with our line-outs,” White told bi, adding: “He has come with a completely different way of doing our line-outs.

“Russel Winter had coached the Stormers and then he came to us [the Bulls].

“Maybe they deciphered what our line-outs were, because he had coached at the Stormers. The stuff he was good at and what he enjoyed, he brought to us.

“I’m hoping that Andries’ new ideas and strategies will be too new for the Stormers to adapt to, quickly.”

White added the key to keeping your game ‘fresh’ is getting guys like Bekker – who brought some new ideas with him from Japan – into the system.

“You can become stale,” the Bulls boss said, adding: “That is the challenge for any team.

“Speak to any top team from any sport. They will tell you the importance is not stagnating.

“Sometimes that happens because you do well and you think that is enough.

“Bringing in new coaches and players – a guy like Willie le Roux.

“It is incredible what value he adds. Also what he means to guys like Canan [Moodie] and Kurt-Lee [Arendse].

“A guy like [Johan] Goosen, who played with him at the Free State [Cheetahs around 2012 to 2014].

“They were a deadly combination when they played at the Free State.

“Sometimes bringing those players in is a massive boost for your group as well.”



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