White reveals surprise selections for Euro Cup opener
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has revealed a new-look team for their Champions Cup opener against Lyon in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Bulls’ boss has changed his entire starting XV that did duty against Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship last weekend with a host of stars not included in the matchday squad.
For the clash against Lyon, Wandisile Simelane gets the No.15 jersey and he will form a back three with Sibongile Novuka and Stravino Jacobs.
Stedman Gans and Marco Jansen van Vuren will form a midfield pairing with veteran playmaker Morne Steyn coming in at No.10.
Bernard van der Linde will be Steyn’s halfback partner.
In the pack, the back row will consist of Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp and Nizaam Carr.
Jacques du Plessis makes a return and he will form a second-row combination with Reinhardt Ludwig.
Jacques van Rooyen, Bismarck du Plessis and Dylan Smith are in the front row.
On the bench, Lizo Gqoboka, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Sebastian Lombard, Janko Swanepoel and Phumzile Maqondwana will provide cover for the forwards and Keegan Johannes, Chris Smit and Juan Mostert will provide cover for the backs.
“When this month started I said that we are going to be very clever about how we manage the players,” said White.
“It’s just turned out that a couple of Springboks came back and needed some time off
“Some guys have worked really hard to get a game and I just felt it is a home game and it is a good opportunity for some boys who have pushed really hard to get a start.
“There are three Springboks, five or six guys who won a Currie Cup Final, two guys played in a Super Rugby Final three times, so there is enough experience there.”
Bulls: 15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morne Steyn (captain), 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Muller Uys, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Sebastian Lombard, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Keegan Johannes, 22 Chris Smit, 23 Juan Mostert.
Date: Saturday, December 10
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.30 (18.30 France time; 17.30 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Sara Cox (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)