The Bulls can once again rely on the “Eskom” that the rest of South Africa craves after confirming on Tuesday that Marco van Staden has returned to Loftus.
The Springbok flanker, nicknamed “Blackie” after the embattled utility because he “blacks out” opponents with his massive hits, was released by English club Leicester earlier this year after suffering multiple concussions.
However, there are no doubts that those knocks pose an undue risk to the Bulls.
He hasn’t played rugby in 8 months and has had no adverse effects “said the former Springbok coach.
“He hasn’t even mentioned getting a headache during his own training during that time. We’ve all heard about Virimi Vakatawa, the French centre who was barred from playing in France due to an unknown medical condition.
“From Marco’s perspective, he had a limited amount of time before the new [medical] insurance kicked in. We’ve done it before with Cornal Hendricks, who has been invaluable to us.
“The risk is the same for everyone. He could bump his head against a teammate during Friday’s warm-up, or whack it on someone’s hip during a morning training session.
“That’s all there is to it. All we know is that he’s eager to return to the field.”
Indeed, Van Staden’s return is almost poetic for White, who lamented last year that he couldn’t use Van Staden and regular skipper Marcell Coetzee in the same loose trio, especially since Coetzee’s return coincided with Van Staden’s departure to the UK.
“I remember saying that I’d love to have both of them on the same team, and that is now a reality. Marco is a great addition; he’s another Springbok “White stated.
“We didn’t want to lose Marco in the first place because he was doing so well for us at the time. We didn’t just want the two on the team; we never wanted to lose any players. One of the reasons for previous ‘failures’ in the local game has been turnover and disruption to our teams.”
Most importantly, Van Staden, who is still only 27, adds to the Bulls’ pool of “middle-aged” players in their prime – between the ages of 25 and 30 – a resource that is scarce in South African football.
“It’s fantastic that he’s returned, not only for us, but also for South African rugby,” White said.
“That’s the type of player you want to play for local URC teams.”
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