Bulls

How Adams stepped out of Du Preez’s shadow

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Springbok scrum-half Fourie du Preez remains on the “seriously doubtful” list as the Bulls start preparations for their Super 14 Final showdown with the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

However, the Bok number nine’s misfortune – a shoulder injury sustained in the Week 13 victory over the Blues and aggravated the next week in the record (92-3) triumph over the Reds – has allowed another gem in the Bulls’ stable to step out of his shadows.
Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer admitted on Sunday that “it doesn’t look good” for Du Preez’s prospects of playing in the Final in Durban on Saturday – the first ever all-South African Final and first Final on SA soil.

The good news is that Du Preez is also the only major injury concern and even better news is that Meyer is pleased with how his replacement, Heinie Adams, has stepped up to the mark.

“There are many bumps and bruises, but nothing serious – everybody should be okay,”b Meyer said of the rest of his squad.

However, he said Du Preez will again be given until the last possible minute before a call is made on his availability ahead of the Final. Ahead of the 27-12 semi-final win over the Crusaders at the weekend Du Preez and Adams were bracketed, with Du Preez eventually pulling out only hours before kick-off.

“We will again leave it as late as possible, but we won’t play him if he isn’t 100 per cent,” Meyer said of Du Preez.

“I doubt he’ll be ready, it doesn’t look good,” he added.

But the Bulls coach is happy that he has a more than able replacement in Adams, who has had very little game time this year – only coming on in the latter stages of most games.

It was not until Du Preez’s injury in Week 13 that Adams started a game and he did so in the next outing against the Reds. When Du Preez came on in the latter stages, and aggravated his shoulder injury, it afforded Adams the opportunity to start in a major play-off match for the first time.

And he showed, until cramp set in very late in the match, that he was more than capable of stepping up to the plate and hit a winning run.

Having played in the shadow of arguably the world’s premier scrum-half for a few years now, Adams has finally stepped out of his shadows.

“I had a lot of confidence in Heinie,” Meyer said.

“He’s been in our system for some time and he’s played in a Currie Cup Final.

“He came up with the goods against the Crusaders at the weekend and I’m proud that he was able to move out of the shadow Fourie [du Preez].

“He showed that he can make the step up.”

Meyer admitted that while the depth in strength of his squad has been a key factor – especially when they suffered a host of injuries in the earlier rounds – was concerned about the depth at scrum-half and hooker.

“We’ve been worried about our depth at numbers nine and two. Gary [Botha] has played throughout the year and gave everything for 80 minutes in every game and we are very proud of him.

“We are just happy that players like Victor [Matfield] lasted and our top players lasted.

“We did have player ruled out at crucial times, especially early in the season – injuries to guys like Derick [Ku’n], Gurthro [Steenkamp] Bakkies [Botha], Pierre [Spies], Bryan [Habana], Roetsie [Johan Roets], also JP [Nel – suspended] and now Fourie [du Preez].

“I’m just proud of the guys, the fact that despite our tough draw we could fight our way back into this position [being in the Final].”

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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