Loose forward Marco van Staden’s World Cup dream would appear to be over following his release from the Springbok squad running through final preparations in Bloemfontein this week.
However, the 23-year-old said he is excited to end the season with the Blue Bulls and can hopefully help them to prolong their Currie Cup campaign.
Van Staden came off the bench against Argentina in Pretoria at the weekend to earn his third Test cap but was then released from the World Cup training squad.
He returns to a Blue Bulls camp that needs something of a miracle to qualify for the Currie Cup semifinals – they need to beat the Sharks by at least 12 points, with a bonus point and deny the visitors any points, while hoping Western Province also lose without any bonus points to the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein – but Van Staden was upbeat at Loftus Versfeld on Monday afternoon.
“I am disappointed to be left out of the Springbok training squad, but everything happens for a reason. But it’s a privilege to be able to play for the Bulls, it will be nice to try and help them into the semis, even though we are dependent on other results.
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“We’ll be going all out for tries to get a bonus point and we believe we can play well this weekend.
“Against the Lions in our last match, the guys showed lots of heart, which was very positive, especially for the youngsters in terms of their confidence.
“If it is our last game of the year, then we will use it to prepare for next year. A long pre-season ahead of Super Rugby will also be good because we will have lost so many players by next year,” Van Staden said.
The Blue Bulls are second from bottom so they will also have an eye on ensuring they avoid finishing last and the relegation playoff – just a bonus point being enough to keep them above the Pumas. So scoring tries would help in that regard too.
To make sure they dot down at least four times, the Blue Bulls will need quick ball, which puts the focus on breakdown specialists like Van Staden.
The Magaliesburg product is likely to be playing alongside another tearaway flank in Ruan Steenkamp, who has recovered well from the concussion which kept him out of the extraordinary win over the Golden Lions, team doctor Herman Rossouw saying his participation this Saturday “looks very positive”.