Wed, 21 Oct 2020

Stedman Gans was one of Jake White's so-called pocket rockets that lit up the Bulls' impressive showing against the Sharks at last weekend's Super Fan Saturday.

The 23-year-old Blitzboks skipper had some delightful moments on attack, scoring his side's second try with a sublime step inside to beat Manie Libbok, the Durbanites' fullback.

He then also exploited Sharks youngster Thaakir Abrahams' slip after rushing out in defence, using the extra space to go on a diagonal run that freed up Travis Ismaiel to score from the right wing.

Yet while his own ability to adapt was impressive, Gans admits that he has a sterling role model in the 38-year-old Gio Aplon.

"Gio played like a 25-year-old and I've spent a lot of time with him. He's been around the block a couple of times and he brings calmness - he and Morne Steyn," said the nimble midfielder.

"I've loved learning from their experience."

Aplon was indeed full of initiative and varied his game with some neat kicking touches too.

However, it was the encouraging early signs of a midfield partnership between Gans and the wily Cornal Hendricks blossoming that really stole the show.

And Gans can't see it not dovetailing.

"It was also his plan from the start for Cornal and I to feed off each other," he said.

"We both like running and offloading and we have a big pack that's going to create space for us to play that running game."

Still burdened a bit with the perception that he favours size, White has continuously stated that the laws of the game are necessitating the use of more mercurial, game-breaking players.

As a result, the former World Cup-winning Springbok coach's combination at Loftus brimmed with power and skill.

Gans agrees that the 15-man game is becoming more conducive for sevens exponents to adapt quicker.

"Playing with tempo is very important now and that's how you get the defence out of breath and then take that space; that's when guys like (fellow Blitzbok) Kurt-Lee Arendse (who scored a brace from left wing) and I come into it. From sevens we've learnt how to manipulate defences and it's how the 15s game is evolving, the tempo is picking up and you're going to see sevens players make more and more of an impact," he said.

"At the sevens squad, getting off the ground quickly is very important to coach Neil Powell so it's almost second nature for me, and now it's something that coach Jake measures you on as well."

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