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Can Bulls’ Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie leave Stormers defenders in their wake? Jake White thinks so

Cape Town – Jake White is expecting a forward onslaught from the Stormers, but is hoping that Kurt-Lee Arendse and the rest of a star-studded Bulls backline can ignite in tonight’s United Rugby Championship clash at Cape Town Stadium.

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In many respects, the north-south derby could be viewed as the Bulls backs against the Stormers forwards – which is in stark contrast to the traditional Northern Transvaal against Western Province games of yesteryear, where the Capetonians had the speed and the Pretoria outfit the grunt.

Not that the current Bulls team doesn’t have some heavy hitters upfront, where loose forwards Elrigh Louw, Cyle Brink and Marco van Staden pack a huge punch, while captain Ruan Nortje and hooker Johan Grobbelaar bring the energy and athleticism.

But it’s the likes of Arendse, Canan Moodie, Johan Goosen and Embrose Papier who can spark the Bulls attack tonight. “I’d like to believe that there will be space. They (Springboks Arendse and Moodie) are good players who have played Test rugby and opened up holes in Test rugby. I’d like to believe that there will be enough space and opportunities,” White said after naming his strongest side yesterday.

“Remember in the (URC) final, literally in the last play of the game, Kurt-Lee Arendse made a line-break and made a poor pass to Madosh (Tambwe) – otherwise we win that game. And that’s how close it was.

“It’s fantastic that you say we’ve got good backs, because that is something I am very proud of. Chris Rossouw (Bulls backline coach) has worked very hard with our backline to produce three guys this year who have been called up to national duty in our backline. It says a lot also for our backline.

“It is Province-like, but I go back to what I have just said: I’m happy and not surprised that the Stormers are picking six forwards on their bench – it’s a great compliment to us, to where we are as a team. We are young: our front-rowers, locks, Elrigh Louw all in their early 20s. It’s a great place to be, a great feather in our cap.”

Stormers coach John Dobson opted for a six-two bench split in favour of the forwards, most likely due to the absence of a specialist reserve lock following injuries to Salmaan Moerat, Gary Porter and Ernst van Rhyn.

The Capetonians have played some thrilling attacking rugby, but White maintains their main threat will be upfront.

Bulls Team:

15 Kurt-Lee Arendse 14 Cornal Hendricks 13 Lionel Mapoe 12 Harold Vorster 11 Canan Moodie 10 Johan Goosen 9 Embrose Papier 8 Elrigh Louw 7 Cyle Brink 6 Marco van Staden 5 Ruan Nortje (captain) 4 Ruan Vermaak 3 Mornay Smith 2 Johan Grobbelaar 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.

Bench: 16 Bismarck du Plessis 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Sebastian Lombard 19 Janko Swanepoel 20 Nizaam Carr 21 Zak Burger 22 Chris Smith 23 Stravino Jacobs

@AshfakMohamed

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