Lood De Jager, named captain of the Blue Bulls team for the 2019 Super Rugby season has already got the rugby world talking after his first outing as such in the blue jersey. The Bulls put the Stormers to the sword in Round 1, comfortably beating the coastal team 40-3 in a thrilling encounter at Loftus.
It has been quite some time since the Loftus faithful have had a reason to order another brandy and coke, to celebrate an emphatic win at their home stadium, but Saturday gave them that reason. Not only was it the fact that they demolished one of their biggest rivals, but it was the style of play they proved capable of during the match, that had everyone enthused.
Any rugby fan would know that the hard work had to be done up front in order for the game to open up the way that it did. The infusion of Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits definitely aided their cause, this writer however, is of the opinion that the biggest portion of praise should go to the big Lood De Jager.
Lood as Captain of the side made 9 carries, gaining 38 meters with ball in hand, he collected four lineouts, stole a further two and topped the forward tackle chart with a big 13 hits. It’s been a long time since Loftus has had a lock as busy as Bakkies Botha in frustrating the opposition but Lood did just that. A constant menace to the visiting team, he supplied the grunt the men from Pretoria have long needed in order to unleash their talented backline.
Lood in Afrikaans translates to lead and lead forms a common component in most car batteries. So if the Bulls can nurture this talented man and manage his work load they can expect him to positively charge that Bulls pack for the 2019 season and hopefully, well into the finals.
With South Africa boasting arguably the best depth at lock internationally, a strong showing as both player and captain from Lood will go a long way to securing him a starting place in the World Cup later this year. Rassie Erasmus will surely be keeping a close eye on this man.
After round one the Bulls have fans and pundits taking notice, all eyes will be on them as they progress through the season and they next face the Jaguares who boast a powerful and hungry forward pack themselves.
Written by: Nicholas Halsey