PRETORIA – The Bulls will be looking to rebuild for next year in the wake of a major player exodus following their brave 35-28 defeat to the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Bulls coach Pote Human said they would be looking to find replacements during this year’s Currie Cup competition that kicks off on 12 July.
The Pretoria side’s gutsy quarter-final defeat was the swansang for stalwarts such as Handre Pollard, RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen and Jesse Kriel.
“We have the Currie Cup to give a few players a chance to show who can make it at this level,” Human said. The guys are really excited about the Currie Cup which is around the corner.
“It was a good year, the guys enjoyed it, and they started playing for each other, and they instilled pride in the Bulls jersey which was a positive for me.”
Human hailed their 2019 campaign success with the Bulls reaching the play-offs for the first time since 2013 and finishing fifth overall compared to 12th place last year. They were the top-ranked South African side winning all their matches against local franchises bar one.
“Since our Australasian tour, we just lost that one match, we won the one match and had two draws against the New Zealand sides and tonight it could easily have been a victory,” Human said.
“If we had the same team for another year, we could have done a lot of damage next season. But unfortunately a few guys will be leaving us, which will start a new process ahead of next year’s competition.”
The Bulls battled to find continuity throughout the campaign despite a strong start to the season, and they only came into their own towards the last few weeks of the tournament.
Their tour of Australasia proved to be the turning point where they won their opening match against the Rebels and going unbeaten on the New Zealand leg drawing with the Blues and the Highlanders.
While the Bulls could not get the rub of the green against the Hurricanes former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks proved he was far from a spent force.
Hendricks scored a brace of tries, rounding off a remarkable comeback from the flyer who spent years on the sidelines due to a heart condition.
Human believed Hendricks’ performances over the last few weeks should put him in contention for a return to the Springbok fold.
“I know if the player is happy you will get the best out of them and a guy like Cornal was out of rugby for a long time,” Human said.
“We gave him the opportunity, and he grabbed it with both hands, and he played better with each game. The two tries he scored tonight was unbelievable, and I really hope he will play at the highest level again.
He has it in him and he definitely still has the talent to play for South Africa.”