Bulls to play in ice-covered stadium in Lyon. jpeg

The Stade Gerland stadium where the Bulls will play Lyon is covered in snow. Photo: Willem Strauss.

Bulls confident of coping with frosty reception in snow-covered Lyon

Chris Rossouw adamant that Bulls can get job done against Lyon despite snowfall which left playing surface in the stadium covered in ice.

Bulls to play in ice-covered stadium in Lyon. jpeg

The Stade Gerland stadium where the Bulls will play Lyon is covered in snow. Photo: Willem Strauss.

Bulls assistant coach Chris Rossouw is adamant that their players can get the job done against Lyon despite heavy snowfall in the area which has left the playing surface in the stadium covered in ice.

The Bulls are scheduled to take on Lyon at the Stade Gerland in France in a Champions Cup fixture on Friday night.

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But when the South Africans landed, they had a frosty arrival in Lyon — which is the second largest metropolitan area of France — on Thursday, there had been heavy snowfall and the city, including the stadium they are set to play at, covered in a white blanket of ice.

Bulls president Willem Strauss shared this photo of the snow-covered Lyon stadium on his personal Twitter account.

Commenting on the conditions and how the Bulls’ traveling party have coped since getting to Lyon, Rossouw said the extreme cold is a whole new experience for everyone.

“It’s the first time in France for us, and that will be an experience.  It’s extremely cold at the moment with the snow, so it will be a great challenge for us. The guys are quite excited.”

“If I look out of the window, the snow has stopped and it’s overcast. It’s extremely cold, and that will have an influence. But our approach will remain the same, so it’s about how we manage those big moments within the game.

“It will be interesting as we are playing at 9pm (French time), so it’s a late game and it’s the first time for us to play that late under this extreme cold.

“It’s an artificial pitch, so that’s a little bit different to a normal pitch, which gets quite easily frozen. I just saw follow-up pictures now where they are clearing the field with a tractor and some sort of a machine. So I think it will continue, as I can’t see too many games being cancelled on this side of the world.”

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Rossouw added that the Bulls are not oblivious to the added challenges and pressures that come with these extreme weather conditions, but is confident that his players will step up and still be able to produce magic moments, especially the likes of outside backs Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie.

“The conditions will always limit your skill-set. The challenge will be for these players to make sure they develop themselves into more complete players, where they can play in all conditions.

“A guy like Kurt-Lee will make you look silly on any surface. I don’t think he will be limited. The challenge will be to make sure you have that traditional approach in conditions that force you to be more conservative. That’s where our game management will have a great effect.

“For those players, it’s about assessing the conditions, and applying what’s needed. If it isn’t snowing, then I think they will be comfortable in expressing their skill-sets.

“It’s obviously extreme. We were playing in 35-degree temperatures at home in training last week. Now we are in sub-zero degrees, on an artificial pitch with snow,” the stand-in Bulls boss explained.

“Over time, we have come to a point where we embrace the challenge and see it as a positive.  We haven’t played on an artificial pitch in snow, I imagine the ball will skid a bit more.

“The last time we played on an artificial pitch was in Glasgow and they upped the pace of the game a bit. This time, that might be more difficult with the snow.”


Starting XV — 1 Simphiwe Matanzima, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 3 Francois Klopper, 4 Ruan Vermaak, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 6 Marco van Staden, 7 Cyle Brink, 8 Nizaam Carr (c), 9 Embrose Papier, 10 Johan Goosen, 11 David Kriel, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Canan Moodie, 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse
Subs: 16 Johann Grobbelaar, 17 Gerard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Lionel Mapoe.

Weather forecast for Lyon where Bulls will play.
The weather forecast for Lyon city where the Bulls will play their Champions Cup match on Friday.