Bulls coach Pote Human isn’t one for hyperbole, but even he struggled to contain his excitement at the team he was able to assemble for Saturday’s Super Rugby opener against the Stormers at Loftus.
“Dream team” was one of the phrases bandied around though he fell short of using it too.
“There are ten Springboks in our starting line-up, so it’s awesome to have that dynamic,” Human said on Wednesday.
“But the onus is still on the guys to go and perform. You’re only as good as you are on the day. We’ll see this weekend.”
One of the national figures he was particularly relieved to be able to pick was Schalk Brits.
The experienced hooker had earlier struggled with a calf injury, which could’ve exacerbated the current depth problem in the position.
“I was initially worried about him. He came through very well in training. We had a tough session. He’s fine,” said Human.
“Even so, I’m sure (replacement) Corniel Els would’ve been able to grab his chance. He’s a ‘toughie’ like they say. He’s older and a bit more wiser than the unlucky Johan Grobbelaar.”
Depending on one’s point of view, sevens could also be considered a form of the Green-and-Gold, which adds further starpower to the Bulls’ match-day squad in Rosko Specman and Dylan Sage.
Notably, Specman has done enough in the past week or so to command a starting spot.
“He really put up his hand last week. He showed to everyone that he’s come here to play,” said Human.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how he adapts. He’s got the skillset to flourish. Rosko’s really excited to play.
“Rosko merely adds to our attacking arsenal. We’re really blessed to have talents like Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Rosko and Embrose Papier in our midst. It’s arguably one of the most gifted backlines in some time. If we’re going to create space for them, things will go very well.”
Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Johnny Kotze, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Rosko Specman, Handre Pollard, Embrose Papier, Duane Vermeulen, Hanro Liebenberg, Ruan Steenkamp, Lood de Jager (c), Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench: Corniel Els, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Eli Snyman, Thembelani Bholi, Ivan van Zyl, Manie Libbok, Dylan Sage.