Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
3 Dec 2021
7:59 am

Bulls pack bracing for clash with Sharks

Ken Borland

The powerful Sharks scrum includes the likes of Bongi Mbonambi, Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi.

Bismarck du Plessis will be a key component in the Bulls' front row against the Sharks. Picture: Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White may be saying he will be looking to play more from scrums in the United Rugby Championship going forward, but that is not going to weaken the resolve of his front row to make a point when they come up against the Sharks at Kings Park on Friday night.

White said one of the differences in northern hemisphere rugby that his team would need to adapt to was that sides tended to use the scrum as an attacking platform and not something from which to earn.

But the outspoken coach made a point of saying how much he was looking forward to seeing former Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis taking on Bongi Mbonambi, the incumbent in the Green and Gold No 2 jersey. He was also keen to see another Springbok, Lizo Gqoboka, who was set to come off the bench as tighthead cover after switching back to the other side of the scrum where he started his career.

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“I don’t really want a whole lot of penalties at scrum time,” White said on Thursday.

“In South Africa you see the scrum is used as an opportunity to get out of your half or get points, via penalties.

“But in the rest of the URC, teams see it as an opportunity to attack, with eight forwards all tied in there. They try and get the ball in and out quickly.

“The Sharks have been speaking for months about how strong they will be when all their Springboks return and then it will just be a matter of time before they dominate. Well this is it now, it’s a home game for them and their Boks are back.

“Bongi has been the dominant hooker for South Africa, while Bismarck is also a World Cup winner who has played 79 Tests. I’m sure he will introduce himself to Bongi and I’m looking forward to that battle.”

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While the likes of Ox Nche and Aphelele Fassi have for some undisclosed reason been blacklisted from playing for the Sharks this week, the hosts have Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi lining up alongside Mbonambi.

Am has moved to inside centre, setting up an intriguing tussle with a Bulls backline that sees David Kriel playing at outside centre and Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback.