Marcell Coetzee Jake White Japan URC Bulls Marcell Coetzee Jake White Japan

Like any Jake move, Ruan Nortje's Bulls captaincy was carefully planned: 'I've known 3 months'

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Ruan Nortje's elevation to the Bulls captaincy might've surprised many, which makes it only more obvious that Jake White, his director of rugby, put a lot of thought into making this move.Once it was confirmed that Marcell Coetzee, Nortje's predecessor was packing his bags for a Japanese sabbatical, the former Springbok coach wasted little time priming his key second-rower.In fact, the 24-year-old himself revealed on Thursday that he's known about his new role for almost three months."In September, Jake told me I was taking over.

It wasn't just that he woke up one morning and decided I should be captain," said Nortje. "I've known a while. I could prepare myself for it, get my head right."Yet the whole process started significantly earlier."It's come a while.

Last season it came up periodically that Marcell was going to Japan for his stint. A few times Marcell calmly talked to me about it and then coach Jake too.

It was definitely a gradual thing."There's a distinct sense here that White realised quite early that the 24-year-old Nortje, who gained a Springbok cap this year for an eye-catching rise in estimation, could be cut from the same cloth as his talisman Coetzee.Both men are affable, keen thinkers of the game and, most importantly, relentless in supplementing undeniable talent with sheer hard work.They also came from undistinguished rugby backgrounds at school, a reality that merely served to increase their competitive drive.It's little wonder Coetzee and Nortje have become close confidantes."Marcell and I have become really good friends.

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