PRETORIA – Springbok reject Marco van Staden has dusted himself off after he was released from national duty and hopes to contribute for the Blue Bulls in their match against the Sharks on Saturday.
Van Staden was among the players who were involved in the expanded Bo squad that featured in the Rugby Championship and the weekend’s farewell Test against Argentina at Loftus.
But the burly flank’s chances of making the Rugby World Cup squad were dashed when he was released to the Bulls for their final regular-season Currie Cup match.
“I am disappointed, but I believe everything happens for a reason and to be here at the Bulls is always a privilege,” Van Staden said. “Playing this weekend will be nice, I know we are dependent on others to make the semis, so if not we hope to finish the season on a high.”
The Bulls have a slight mathematical chance of reaching the semi-finals, but more importantly, they need to win to stay avoid to place in the relegation-promotion playoff.
The Pumas are currently in last place with only a superior points-difference separating the Bulls and the Mpumalanga-based team on the standings.
“We are going all out, and if we do that, then everything will fall into place,” Van Staden said. “The breakdown is important in every game, and we have our plans set for the week.”
The Bulls have been battling to find their mojo in this year’s Currie Cup, with only two victories to show for their efforts.
They seemed to have found a spark in their last match away to the Golden Lions where they claimed a 31-26 win despite a numerical disadvantage due to ill-discipline.
“The guys who played in that game showed a lot of heart to win the contest with 14 and 13 men at one point,” Van Staden said. “It instilled some belief that we can play well, especially for the younger guys playing Currie Cup for the first time it would mean a lot.”
The Bulls received another boost with the news that influential prop Lizo Gqoboka would also be released from Bok duties.
Gqoboka was among four players who were sent to their unions, reducing the Boks in camp to 32 players.