Nortjé has followed that on and received plaudits from his coach after being tasked with calling the line-outs for the first time last weekend
THE Bulls have a history of producing world-class locks, going back to when Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and forward utility Danie Rossouw propelled them to three Super Rugby titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
In their first start together against the Highlanders last weekend, Ruan Nortjé and Ian Groenewald showed a glimmer that they could spark the next Bulls second-row dynasty.
The Bulls lost Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins and Eli Snyman last season, who, if they had stuck together, would have created something of a renaissance in Pretoria.
As a result, they scampered to bring Juandré Kruger back to Loftus and scooped up former Lions lock Andries Ferreira, who was released by the Hurricanes without playing a game out of fears about his past injuries.
Bulls coach Pote Human tried to reheat the French fries with the combination of Ferriera and Kruger, but they just didn’t taste the same.
Up stepped Ruan Nortjé (21), who has featured sporadically off the bench this season before his monstrous start in the Bulls’ 38-13 victory over the Highlanders last week.
Ian Groenewald (27), who is perhaps a little long in the tooth to be considered a youngster, came into the team with the same vigour as his younger second-row partner.
The Bulls are adept at turning promising young locks into smooth line-out operators and their factory never closes. Matfield passed the baton to Mthunzi Mabeta for a brief period before Flip van der Merwe took over and then Snyman emerged as the great new hope.
Nortjé has followed that on and received plaudits from his coach after being tasked with calling the line-outs for the first time last weekend.
Granted, the Highlanders weren’t going to pose as tough a set-piece challenge, as, say, the Crusaders or the Chiefs.
But it was important for Nortjé to set a marker that he will hope to carry into the clash against the Reds in Brisbane tomorrow.