The four Bulls players in the Springboks alignment squad emphatically put one over those Sharks players also in the national equation.
Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber and National Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus over the past few weeks have been having alignment camps in preparation for the Springboks return to international rugby after a Covid enforced 18 month absence.
The Springboks will play two Test matches against Georgia in July as preparation for the three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions.
The Bulls national squad contingent are No 8 Duane Vermeulen, flyhalf Morne Steyn and props Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka. All four were influential in Saturday’s win. Marcel Coetzee, who has signed for the Bulls, is the only other Bulls player in the national alignment camps.
Steyn is also making a compelling case to be the back up to Handre Pollard for the Tests against the Lions. The 36 year-old was outstanding in the 43-9 win against the Sharks and he has been consistent in his quality in helping the Bulls win Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup.
Vermeulen, in his second successive Rainbow Cup SA start, was powerful and impressive.
The Sharks boast several big name Springboks players, including World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi, and none of those Sharks-based Boks did justice to their playing pedigree. Individually, they are all better players than what they showed on Saturday evening.
Critical for the Bok picture, though, is game time and the more the likes of Kolisi plays, the stronger the performances will be.
The Bulls, 12-9 ahead at halftime, scored 31 unanswered points in the second half.
I had the Bulls to win and the entire Bulls squad to make a statement to Nienaber and Erasmus, specifically inside centre Cornal Hendricks. The latter and the team as a collective certainly did this, although it is unlikely to influence the thinking of Nienaber and Erasmus when it comes to who they believe will make the Springboks winners against the Lions.
Bulls coach Jake White will take particular pleasure from how the Bulls got stronger with each minute. It was as crushing a victory as there has been in the history of these two teams.
White has been incredible in turning the Bulls from jokers to giants in winning Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup. His Bulls are now three from three in the Rainbow Cup SA and the early pacesetters in being the South African finalists in the scheduled Rainbow Cup final in the northern hemisphere in June.
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