It’s been a bit of an underwhelming start to Adriaan Strauss’ Super Rugby campaign.
Not that one should be too surprised given the pre-season talk that the experienced former Springbok captain would be used in a value-adding capacity for the Bulls, whether it as a starting option or bench player.
Given coach John Michell’s predominant focus on youth, Strauss was probably always going to be doing duty as a substitute.
However, as reality sets in for the men from Loftus after two consecutive defeats, there’s a distinct sense that maybe the 31-year-old hooker is being under-utilised.
Strauss has played 95 minutes to date and got a particularly decent workout last weekend against the Reds, where he eventually had to complete 7 tackles.
Asked whether his persistence with Jaco Visagie for Friday’s meeting with the Chiefs in Hamilton suggests that a pecking order has been established, Mitchell was a tad dismissive.
“We’ll leave the hooker issue as a weekly selection discussion,” said the New Zealander on Tuesday.
“I don’t really deal with the future in this regard. We just deal with one race at a time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Jaco, Adriaan or Edgar (Marutlulle) that starts.”
One area that Mitchell is bolstering with a Springbok is at tighthead, where Trevor Nyakane gains a start.
“We’re happy with his progress,” said the Bulls mentor.
“We think it’s important to get him started. He’s demonstrated some really good technique at scrum time. It’s also a way of managing Frans van Wyk’s workload.
“We’re constantly making improvements at the scrums and we’re definitely getting better. Trevor is good on a technical level and is also in good physical shape.”
Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal (c), Divan Rossouw, Handre Pollard, Andre Warner, Hanro Liebenberg, Thembelani Bholi, Roelof Smit, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Bench: Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka, Conraad van Vuuren, Jason Jenkins/Tim Agaba, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Johnny Kotze.