Ruan Vermaak stabilizes Bulls’ three-man rotation

Ruan Vermaak stabilizes Bulls’ three-man rotation

The Bulls and their group of loose forwards in the United Rugby Championship may be an example of when having an abundance of wealth becomes difficult to manage (URC).

Although teams may never have enough depth, the best starting XV and substitutes must be chosen for the important games.

Coach Jake White will be anxious to prevent a repetition of the Bulls’ humiliating 35-21 defeat to Glasgow last week in Saturday’s match against Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick (8.35pm kick-off).

Although player rotation is also a part of the strategy, assistant coach Chris Rossouw said earlier this week that “one thing he (White) made plain is that if there are any changes made, they are not in relation to the game and what occurred last week (against Glasgow)”.

One of the lineups that might be changed for the Munster match is in the loose trio, where there are practically two “fetchers” in Marcell Coetzee and Marco van Staden, while Elrigh Louw is at No. 8 when he could be even more productive as a blindside winger. White will announce his squad tomorrow.

Prior to last week’s game in Glasgow, White made a point of explaining that he didn’t think it was a problem since “the number on their back is immaterial.”

The previous Bok coach believed that the responsibilities of the loose forwards are interchangeable and that the only time the three players truly needed to pack down in a certain position was during scrums.

“It’s not how many, but rather how you behave. Elrigh does a great job of carrying out of the scrum. If you want to play off the back of the scrum, he provides us an extra value since he is fast and dynamic, according to White.

“Marcell and Marco are really aggressive with the ball, and sometimes Marcell being on the opposite side of the scrum and Marco going to the first breakdown frees Marcell up for the second breakdown, which is also a victory.

Therefore, you could have too much over the ball at times if you have them too close together, eight and six, from scrums or line-outs, which causes width (issues) in your defense.

However, it only seems as if that final aspect is now having an impact on the Bulls, as Coetzee and Van Staden may be obstructing each other at breakdowns and in general play due to their similar running lines and duties.

One alternative is to move Coetzee to No. 8, Louw to No. 7, and Van Staden to No. 6. Another option for rotation is to reinstate Ruan Vermaak against Munster, who performed well at blindside in the previous two games, to give greater balance.

In contrast to Van Staden, who plays as an opensider and moves toward the ball, Vermaak is a powerful ball carrier who plays as a true No 7. In Limerick, he may partner with Coetzee and Louw.

The Bulls need captain Coetzee to be the primary fetcher against Munster, Benetton, and the Sharks on October 30 since he will be departing Pretoria for a break in Japan at the end of October.

Van Staden may then take over at No. 6 for the remainder of the current campaign or when Coetzee returns from Japan sometime in 2019.

»Ruan Vermaak stabilizes Bulls’ three-man rotation«

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