There are many sources of pressure for Super Rugby players these days, but Bulls forward Hanro Liebenberg said the team are currently under “good pressure” to continue their fine start to the season when they come off their bye and take on the Chiefs at Loftus on Saturday.
The Bulls have soared to the top of the South African Conference with resounding wins over the Stormers, Lions and Sharks, with their only slip-up coming against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
They now face their first Kiwi opposition in the form of a Chiefs side that made a horror start to the season before boosting their low morale with their draw against the Hurricanes last weekend.
“We’ve had some big confidence-boosters ourselves, especially our win over the Sharks, but we know that we really have to step up against the New Zealand sides. It’s a good pressure to have, we’ve been in much worse situations in the last couple of years. The depth we have is something we didn’t have previously, plus we have experience.
“It’s a great environment to be in. All the guys are playing on merit and they are all bringing that vibe. Coach Pote Human is really bringing out the best in the team,” Liebenberg said.
Speaking of being tested, the success of Liebenberg’s move from flank to lock is going to be thoroughly examined this weekend as he comes up against All Black Brodie Retallick, who is also the captain of the Chiefs.
“Brodie is one of the best locks in world rugby so it’s going to be a real test and I will need my best lock game. I don’t have the experience that he does, but I will just make sure my heart matches his.
“Nowadays if you can play in more than one position it really benefits the team. That was the biggest change from my time in France at the start of the year, playing lock, and that has made it easier for me in Super Rugby. It was good experience and it was good to link up with Morne Steyn, Willem Alberts and Piet van Zyl at Stade Francais and I enjoyed my time there,” Liebenberg said.