Bulls load up on star power
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Bulls have made a number of changes to their starting XV that will take on the Cheetahs in their final round match of the Cup on Saturday.
The Pretoria-based side will head into the clash at Loftus Versfeld having made some changes to the team that claimed a 33-26 victory over the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium a fortnight ago.
The backline will see the return of David Kriel at fullback, where he takes the place of Sibongile Novuka, and Madosh Tambwe has been included at wing where he replaces Stravino Jacobs.
At scrumhalf Zak Burger is rested, as Marco Jansen van Vuren gets a rare start in the No.9 jersey.
In the forwards pack, Jan-Hendrik Wessels will buckle down at hooker, with Schalk Erasmus providing cover on the bench this week, while WJ Steenkamp gets a starting berth at blindside flank.
However, arguably the most noteworthy selection is on the bench.
Springbok wing Ruan Combrinck will make his long-awaited first appearance since joining the Bulls at the start of July.
The Bok flyer is set to add firepower and experience should he take to the field.
“It has been a gruelling past few weeks in the Currie Cup, where the team has seen plenty of learning and growth while being tested by quality opposition,” Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said.
“Yes, we are close to the business end of the competition – the play-offs – but we still have a tough Cheetahs team to face in this final round.
“They too will be out to end their campaign on a high note, while we will be intent on drawing closer to that perfect game which will be needed in the knockout stages.”
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Arno Botha (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Jaco Labuschagne, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Ruan Combrinck, 24 Schalk Erasmus, 25 Reinhard Ludwig, 26 Rynardt Roets.
Date: Saturday, August 28
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 16.45 (14.45 GMT)
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Johre Botha, local appointment
TMO: Quinton Immelman