If there’s one man who’ll be desperate for the Bulls’ Super Rugby campaign not to fizzle out, it’s Hanro Liebenberg.
The imposing loose forward can hardly be labelled a veteran in terms of age at only 23, but in rugby terms he’s an old hand.
It’s a consequence of making your debut at a ripe 18.
Liebenberg has experienced all the bumps of the past five years at Loftus – the steady decline at the start to the (un)steady optimism in 2019.
This season’s encouraging results is exactly why he’s adamant the Bulls must win their last three matches, a sequence that should see them make the playoffs.
However, losses will see them miss out and deny Liebenberg some success before he moves on to English club Leicester.
“We have three must-win games, there’s no doubt about it. If you see how well the Jaguares are performing in our conference it renders it even more important,” he said from Auckland, where the Bulls take on the Blues on Friday.
“But the message from coach Pote (Human) is that we also have take things game-by-game. Keep the prep focused on this week and work out what the Blues bring.”
Liebenberg produced a heroic performance in a losing cause against the Brumbies last weekend, illustrated by him scoring the Bulls’ only try and completing 17 tackles.
“It was a tough game, quite physical. I tried my best throughout, especially with Handre Pollard and Duane Vermeulen missing. I really want to end on a high note. I might only have three games left in a Bulls jersey, hopefully those performances will be remembered as my best,” he said.
Previously installed as the Bulls Currie Cup skipper, the man from Brackenfell will need to provide leadership at the cauldron that is Eden Park.
“I didn’t always see myself as a senior member, but after doing some of the captaincy, I feel I can contribute. We can’t just lean on Springboks. Guys like Burger (Odendaal) and I will need to put up our hands.”