Jake White’s back-three quandary before URC tour

Jake White’s back-three quandary before URC tour


This weekend, Jake White, head coach of the Bulls, will be challenged by the loss of two Springbok wings in the same match.

Canan Moodie (hamstring), Sbu Nkosi (concussion), and Johan Grobbelaar (ankle) did not travel with the 30-man squad on Monday night for their three-match United Rugby Championship tour of Europe, where they will face Glasgow Warriors on Saturday (8:35pm kickoff), Munster (October 15), and Benetton (October 22). (October 21).

The Pretoria team’s three victories and 14 points leave them in second place on the standings, behind Leinster by points differential.

White will hope that they can sustain their momentum on tour, and they will be confident in their prospects of defeating Glasgow, who have only won one in three games this season, against Cardiff.

The Scottish team lost to the Ospreys 32-17 in Wales last weekend.

In the absence of Moodie and Nkosi, however, the Bulls will need to be astute with their back-three combinations.

White was happy with Jan-Hendrik Wessels’ performance in last week’s 28-14 victory over Connacht, despite a few blunders and a yellow card.

On the bench, veteran Bismarck du Plessis will serve as insurance.

However, White has other options to consider in the back-three.

Wandisile Simelane started as fullback, Cornal Hendricks on the right wing, and Nkosi on the left during the opening 31-15 victory over the Lions.

A week later, in the 33-31 victory over Edinburgh, Johan Goosen was ranked 15, Hendricks was ranked 14, and Stravino Jacobs was ranked 11.

Kurt-Lee Arendse played fullback against Connacht last week, with Moodie and Nkosi on the wings.

Arendse, a star for the Springboks, will play in the Glasgow match, but in what position?

He is most effective at No. 15, where his counter-attacking skills provide the Bulls with a potent ball-carrying weapon. He is also solid under the high ball and an outstanding defender.

With Jacobs dropped from the tour squad, Arendse and Simelane may be required to switch positions.

The former Lions center had both good and questionable moments against his former team at Ellis Park, and he will need more game experience there to be able to handle these responsibilities. However, a late-night match at Scotstoun Stadium against Glasgow may not be the best time for Simelane to establish his footing.

Harold Vorster’s return from injury allows Hendricks to return to the right wing position, but it may be more prudent to keep Arendse at fullback and transfer David Kriel to the left wing. Kriel has played in the back-three on a regular basis in the past, but has operated at inside center this season.

This would allow Vorster to reunite alongside Lionel Mapoe in the middle.

Goosen can also fill in at fullback, but with the Springboks’ end-of-year tour looming, he needs as much time as possible at flyhalf, especially with Handre Pollard’s injury concerns.

Bulls Tour Squad Forwards (17): Gerhard Steenekamp, Simphiwe Matanzima, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Klopper, Mornay Smith, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Vermaak, Ruan Nortje, Janko Swanepoel, Marcell Coetzee, WJ Steenkamp, Marco van Staden, Reinhardt Ludwig, Elrigh Louw, Dylan Smith, Joe van Zyl.

Backs (13): Zak Burger, Embrose Papier, Johan Goosen, Chris Smith, Stedman Gans, Bernard van der Linde, David Kriel, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Morné Steyn, Cornal Hendricks, Wandisile Simelane, KurtLee Arendse.

»Jake White’s back-three quandary before URC tour«

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