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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Bulls rotation policy is ‘win-win’, says loose forward Mpilo Gumede

Gumede made his debut for the Bulls in their 18-12 win over Cardiff last week.

Loose forward Mpilo Gumede says the Bulls squad are happy with director of rugby Jake White’s policy of rotation among the group this season.

White said he would follow in the footsteps of SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus in terms of spreading the load and building depth. In their four United Rugby Championship games thus far, the Bulls have strategically rotated right across the team.

Gumede, who joined the Bulls from the Sharks in the off–season, has settled in well in the capital city. He made his debut in the 18-12 win over Cardiff last week, forming a loose trio with Nizaam Carr and Cyle Brink.

The trio replaced Marcell Coetzee, Elrigh Louw and Cameron Hanekom who had started the first three games of the season.

When Gumede was on the verge of signing for the Pretoria franchise, he thought about his prospect of game time, but he is now guaranteed to see action in the busy calendar because of White’s approach to rotation.

“As players, we believe in something like that because everyone gets an opportunity to play,” said Gumede.

“It also helps to avoid many injuries because players get to rest while others get to play. So in that way, it’s healthy because it’s a win–win for everyone. 

“I thought about that (limited playing time) and coming here I knew and understood it might be difficult. I made the decision willing to face that, but the competition (in the squad) is very healthy and I’m loving it.”

No need to panic

Gumede was also encouraged by the faith White had in his style of play as he offered a lot in the back row.

“He (White) said he wanted me to come and express myself, He knows and understands the type of player I am, and I mustn’t have any fear,” said the 23-year-old Gumede.

“He signed me because he understands how I play, so there’s no need for me to panic or overthink, I must just play my rugby.”

The lanky forward shared which position he preferred to play in.

“I prefer to play eight. It makes me link with the backs easily and I like playing loose, but seven is also fine for me. I don’t mind as long as I’m playing,” he said.

The Bulls, who are currently on top of the URC table, return to action on Friday night against Edinburgh at the Hive Stadium.

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