If the Bulls like to think of themselves as the Liverpool or Manchester United of South African rugby, then, perhaps, said Western Province’s forwards coach Rito Hlungwani, his team might be the Orlando Pirates of South Africa.
With the Bulls now seemingly the team to beat in South Africa, and ahead of the big north-south derby at Newlands this weekend which will mark the first round of the Currie Cup, Hlungwani said he preferred to compare his team with a local football outfit.
“I just would like to say I do like a bit of soccer myself, so I think Province might be compared to Orlando Pirates,” he said somewhat cheekily.
“It must be nice for them (the Bulls) to compare themselves to Liverpool, who struggled for 30 years to win anything,” he said.
Regarding the statement by Bulls coach Jake White that the Pretoria team are the “sleeping giant” of South African rugby, Hlungwani said diplomatically he would like to congratulate the Bulls, and added they had done really well under the circumstances and were the only team to fulfil all their fixtures.
“They played four home games and two away, where they struggled against the Lions and lost to the Cheetahs. Compare that to us; we only had two home games,” he said.
The last time the two teams met the Bulls smashed the Stormers 39-6 at Loftus, but Hlungwani said a lot had changed since that day.
“There’s few things we have addressed and improved on since we played them; we struggled after that loss mentally, but we have moved on from that,” he said.
In a potential boost for the side, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi could return after suffering a torn hamstring in the return to rugby, after Covid lockdown and suspension, at Loftus two months ago.
“Siya is fit and has been training and he is looking really good,” said Hlungwani. “But, whether we pick him and let him play I’ll keep secret until Thursday.”
Kolisi will more than likely make a return from off the bench, and so, too, might fellow loose-forward, Jaco Coetzee, who could be back after a spell on the sidelines with concussion. ends