Wepener moves to the Lions
Veteran hooker Willie Wepener has been released from his contract with the Blue Bulls and will join up with trans-Jukskei rivals the Golden Lions.
Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar confirmed the transfer on Tuesday.
"We are very sad about losing Willie, but has decided not to stand in his way," Pienaar said.
The move of the veteran to Johannesburg comes in the wake of the Lions' decision to release Callie Visagie to the Bulls a couple of weeks ago.
"There is a longer term option for him [Wepener] available at the Golden Lions and it will be wrong of us to deny him that," Pienaar said.
"He has been a real warrior for us, so we want to wish him well in this move and thank him for his services to us."
* Meanwhile Pienaar made just one change to his team to play Griquas in a Currie Cup Round Two match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Visagie will start at hooker in place of Wepener.
Visagie's spot on the bench – from the team that played o a 24-all draw with Western Province – will taken by Bongi Mbonambi, who will make a first appearance in the competition.
Commenting on the Griquas clash, Pienaar said the momentum from the Cape Town draw against Western Province will help his team in their first home match of the season.
"We did well there and you could see it in the way the guys trained this week," the coach said.
"We are confident of playing to our potential again this weekend. No doubt Griquas will be a tough opponent. We have seen that there will be no easy matches in the Currie Cup already, so the guys know that they will have to be up for it."
Blue Bulls captain, Jono Ross, urged for another spirited performance from his young charges.
"The trick will be to consistently deliver your best performance every weekend. We cannot expect a result if we are not on top of our game against Griquas," Ross said.
"They will punish us if we are not switched on and at our best," he added.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcell van der Merwe, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.
Date: Friday, August 16
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, Attire Buitendag
TMO: Johan Greeff