Siya Kolisi and Marco van Staden. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)
- Marco van Staden isn’t remotely thinking about making his expected battle with Siya Kolisi in this weekend’s Rainbow Cup battle a personal one.
- The two men are competing for the same position in the Springbok squad.
- However, Van Staden wants to focus on the Bulls securing a spot in the showpiece match in what will be his final game in a blue jersey.
His consistently dynamic performances over the past months suggests he’ll go at full tilt, but Marco van Staden isn’t about to make his battle with Siya Kolisi a personal one.
The two opensiders are expected to front up against each other this weekend when the Bulls travel to Durban for what is essentially a Rainbow Cup “semi-final”, a typical battle of form versus pedigree.
Notably, both men are also in the extended Springbok squad for the series against the British & Irish Lions.
“I’ll just play at 100%. This is about myself and my team-mates. I’m not focusing on Siya at all. I respect him,” said Van Staden.
“Given the importance of the game, we’ve devised a game plan and all that matters is that we execute it fully. I’m not going to move away from my game just to prove a point.
“For me, it’s another opportunity to play.”
Indeed, this is the type of fixture where the Bulls really need not overthink things.
They require a mere bonus point to advance to next week’s final in Italy or have to prevent the Durbanites from winning and scoring four tries or more.
Yet the best approach is to just go out and win the match.
However, Jake White’s charges will be wary of opponents who’ve had their number at Kings Park.
They lost 32-29 in last season’s Currie Cup on one of the rare occasions where they didn’t end the game well and a weakened combination lost 45-12 in the preparation series.
“I don’t believe we’ll have to change too much. We’ve shown over the past few games that we consistently end games very well. But this weekend we’ll need to start well too,” said Van Staden.
“We can’t keep relying on making comebacks in the second half.”
The unassuming loose forward has the added incentive of delivering a memorable performance due to the match being his final one in a Bulls jersey.
Van Staden will join Leicester Tigers from July and, as a Springbok member, won’t be allowed to play in the final should the Bulls reach it.
“It’s a difficult situation, but we understand. Rassie and co have provided good reasons behind the decision. We accept and follow it,” he said.
“We’ll miss some of the guys for for the final, which is a big occasion, but everyone has agreed to it.”
Kick-off at Kings Park is at 18:15 on Saturday.