Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
25 Nov 2020
9:00 am

Bulls centre Hendricks tries to keep the emotion out of the North-South derby

Ken Borland

The former Springbok wing has been a surprise package at inside centre for the Bulls, proving an industrious supplier for his fellow backs and a sturdy rock in defence.

Bulls centre Cornal Hendricks on one of his characteristic runs against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld last week. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Super Rugby Unlocked champions the Bulls will know from the moment they land at Cape Town International Airport that they are the target of a take down by Western Province in their Currie Cup derby at Newlands on Saturday, but inside centre Cornal Hendricks says it’s important that they don’t get too caught up in all the emotion.

While Western Province are never happy to see the Blue Bulls win a competition they played in as well, there is added emotion in Saturday’s match because, depending on how the playoffs pan out, it could be the last time the great North versus South derby that has defined so much of South African rugby is played at the grandest old stadium of them all.

“We’re expecting a lot of emotion from them because we know what Newlands means to them. They are going to be physical and they are a good team on top of that. But sometimes you can be too emotional and you forget what you want to achieve,” Hendricks said.

“We need to control it, I know it’s hard sometimes to control your emotions, but we need to put them aside and see the clearer picture. We need to go into the game clear-headed, cool, calm and collected.”

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The former Springbok wing has been a surprise package at inside centre for the Bulls, proving an industrious supplier for his fellow backs and a sturdy rock in defence.

Hendricks paid tribute to coach Jake White, who is obviously a top-class talent-spotter as well as a brilliant coach, for initiating the move.

“Jake White is obviously a world-class coach and backline coach Chris Rossouw deserves credit too for backing me at 12.

“I still have a lot to learn playing at inside centre and I’m trying to improve in small areas every week. But I’m pleased with where Stedman Gans and myself are at as a combination. I do the dirty work and he scores the tries,” Hendricks laughed.

“I have a good relationship with Stedman, he was a world-class Sevens player and now he’s made his mark in XVs, which is great because you don’t want to be branded as just one type of player. We have good chemistry – a bromance – and we are learning together every day, but things are going well. Guys like Kurt-Lee Arendse, David Kriel and Travis Ismaiel are also playing very good rugby,” Hendricks said.

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