Cape Town – Despite the loss of key personnel, the Bulls pack will not take a backwards step in 2020.
That is the view of front-ranker Wiehahn Herbst, who spoke to Netwerk24 as the Pretoria franchise stepped up their preparations for the Super Rugby season.
The Bulls pack was a dominant force in 2019, but they’ll be without the Springbok quartet of Duane Vermeulen, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman and Schalk Brits for the new campaign.
However Herbst, who joined the Pretoria franchise last year after spending five years at Irish club Ulster, said they’ll head into the new season confident.
“We’re definitely not taking a step backwards. The players who are here do not view themselves as also-rans. You play to win, not to just participate,” he said.
The 31-year-old, who also played five seasons at the Sharks before joining Ulster in 2014, said he gained a lot of experience in Europe.
“It’s good to be back and to enjoy the weather and your own culture here.”
The Bulls started their pre-season well over the weekend when they annihilated Varsity Cup outfit UP-Tuks in two warm-up matches at the Tuks Stadium.
The Pretoria franchise split their extended squad across the two matches and proved far too strong for the students.
After winning the first match 40-0 (half-time 21-0), the Bulls ran riot in the second one with a 96-5 (half-time 42-0) annihilation.
The Bulls will play the Lions in their Super Hero Sunday match at FNB Stadium this weekend, before opening their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks in Durban on Friday, January 31.
– Compiled by Herman Mostert