The Vodacom Blue Bulls exit out of the Absa Currie Cup competition has come as a welcome bonus for the under-21 side, who face their own semifinal this weekend.
Junior coach Nollis Marais has the luxury of using the services of lock Paul Willemse, flank Jacques du Plessis, flyhalf Handre Pollard and midfielder Jan Serfontein for the playoff game.
The four are still under 21 – and in Pollard and Du Plessis’ case – still under-19 – and therefore qualify to play for the Blue Bulls under-21, who grabbed the home semifinal by beating the Cheetahs under-21 29-27 in their match in Bloemfontein on the weekend.
The bonus will strengthen the Bulls squad but there is a debate whether the likes of Serfontein – who three weeks ago faced the All Blacks in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship – should be playing rugby at all and not resting for the Springboks’ end of year tour.
The move also means the under-19 team, which topped the national log, is set to get players back who were elevated to under-21 status in the quartet’s absence.
The Blue Bulls under-21 team face the Sharks under-21 side in their semifinal on Saturday at 3pm. The under-19 team face the Leopards’ under-19 side at 1pm. Both games are at Loftus and entrance is free.