CAPE TOWN – With 5 minutes gone, the Bulls and Lions set down for his or her first scrum of their latest Currie Cup conflict at Loftus Versfeld.
The Bulls had been anticipated to have the higher hand, contemplating Springbok Lizo Gqoboka was again from harm, and he was packing down alongside Trevor Nyakane – with younger hooker Schalk Erasmus, who’s on the gamers of nationwide curiosity listing compiled by Saru director of rugby Rassie Erasmus – within the center.
They had been up in opposition to Dylan Smith, Jaco Visagie and Jannie du Plessis of the Lions, three excessive skilled operators, however the props weren’t the common first-choices this season.
Sti Sithole and Carlu Sadie have been usually most popular at No 1 and No 3 respectively, with Wiehahn Herbst additionally usually forward of Du Plessis within the tighthead pecking order.
However final Wednesday, it was the Joburg entrance row that had the early benefit.
Within the first scrum, it was Du Plessis who obtained the higher of Gqoboka, whereas within the subsequent two scrums, Smith shoved Nyakane backwards.
The final two led to penalties, with the third leading to three factors after Tiaan Swanepoel slammed over a 60-metre kick at objective to place the Lions 9-0 forward after 20 minutes.
Later within the first half, although, Nyakane obtained his revenge, drilling Smith in a scrum to such an extent that the Lions No 1 needed to go off injured. From there, the house aspect had the benefit within the set-piece.
And that has been the story of the Bulls scrum this season. Inconsistency has marred their efforts in the course of the Tremendous Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup tournaments, with bursts of dominance at occasions and freely giving penalties at others.
Nyakane has been the stand-out prop, however has additionally missed just a few video games as a result of harm. Gqoboka solely returned from a long-term calf downside in opposition to the Lions, whereas Jacques van Rooyen has had good and common moments all through the season.
Marcel van der Merwe, although, has battled all through, with White feeling that a few of the referees’ choices haven’t gone the Springbok front-ranker’s method.
Again-up loosehead Gerhard Steenekamp has carried out properly when given game-time, whereas Mornay Smith hasn’t seen a lot of the motion.
Below-21 loosehead prop Jan-Hendrik Wessels has been touted by White as the following Os du Randt, however was then surprisingly employed at tighthead in opposition to the Pumas final Sunday, the place he was given a lesson by Morgan Naudé.
There is no such thing as a method that the Bulls can afford to go backwards within the first few scrums in next Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld (2pm kick-off).
So, whereas Nyakane and Johan Grobbelaar are certain bets at tighthead and hooker respectively, who ought to White go for within the No 1 jersey? Van Rooyen and Gqoboka are the seniors, however Steenekamp has been the in-form Bulls loosehead all through the season.
White, although, seldom goes in opposition to expertise, so Van Rooyen might be the favorite to start out.