Van Staden rewarded Bulls coach Pote Human’s faith in him with a characteristically brutish performance
Marco van Staden is like a diesel engine – it takes longer to get started, but once it gets going it’s difficult to stop.
That was certainly the case in the Bulls’ 22-all draw with the Blues in Auckland last weekend with Van Staden playing a starring role for the Pretoria side.
Van Staden has been slow to revive his 2018 breakthrough form after recovering from a tendon injury, but was his beastly self in New Zealand.
He has looked slightly off his game since making his return for the Bulls against the Reds, and there were questions whether last season was just a flash in the pan.
But Van Staden rewarded Bulls coach Pote Human’s faith in him with a characteristically brutish performance.
The perfect time
Van Staden felt his return to form took longer than he had hoped for, but it was perhaps the perfect time as the Bulls look to keep their play-off hopes alive.
“It took a bit longer than I expected for me to hit my form but I think I am on the right track and am almost at 100 percent again,” Van Staden said.
“The team helped me through every game and played better.”
The Bulls have already lost some of their muscle with Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen missing the New Zealand leg because of the national resting protocols. They suffered another blow in the Blues match with Tier Schoeman leaving the field due to a knee injury.
Known as “Eskom” among his teammates for tackling the lights out of his opposition during his Varsity Cup days, Van Staden lived up to his nickname against the Blues. The livewire loose forward demonstrated why he caught the eye during the 2018 season and earning his Springbok colours popping up at every ruck and putting in the big hits.
Van Staden said he still harboured dreams of making the Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup, but he did not allow this to consume too much head space.
“I will just keep working hard in the last few games. It remains in the back of my mind (making the Bok squad), but at the moment it is not my main focus,” Van Staden said.
“I aim to play Super Rugby and play as many games as possible and be playing at 100 percent again as I should.”
Turning his attention to the Highlanders clash on Friday morning, Van Staden said the Bulls were looking to keep the mistakes to a minimum and turn opportunities into points to keep their play-off hopes alive.
“The key against the Highlanders will be for us to use every opportunity; we had many chances over the weekend which we let slip,” Van Staden said.
“If we can take our chances and remain consistent for 80 minutes, I think we can take them.”