Goosen gets pivot role as Boks boost Bulls
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: As the rugby world braces itself for the third round of the United Rugby Championship, the Bulls get set to host a hungry Connacht team at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
The hosts have made six changes to the team that narrowly emerged victorious last weekend against Edinburgh.
Bulls fans will be treated by the return of inform Springboks, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Sbu Nkosi.
Arendse and Moodie, both of whom quickly became fan favourites at Loftus with their electric pace and insane steps, will be high on confidence after both made their Springbok debuts in the last few weeks, scoring three tries collectively.
While Nkosi, no stranger to the Green and Gold but only having made one appearance for the Bulls thus far, will also be looking to win over the Loftus faithful.
Cornal Hendricks will partner David Kriel in the midfield, while Johan Goosen gets his first start in the ten jersey since returning from a long term injury that kept him out of the game for eleven months. The ever-industrious and busy Zac Burger retains his spot at scrumhalf.
The loose-trio gets a little shuffle as Marco van Staden starts at seven with Ruan Vermaak dropping out for this game and joining the Bulls XV that face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Captain Marcell Coetzee continues doing what he does best in the six jersey, with returning Springbok, Elrigh Louw, remaining in his ‘happy-place’ with the number eight on his back.
Ruan Nortje and Walt Steenkamp have formed a formidable pairing in the engine room over the last season, and will continue their dominance for this game.
Francois Klopper earns a well-deserved start at tighthead, as Mornay Smith drops to the bench, with Johan Grobbelaar and Gerhard Steenekamp at hooker and loosehead respectively.
Jake White, Director of Rugby, is looking forward to the return of the Springbok players.
“It’s always nice having Springboks come back, especially when they are looking as good as Canan and Kurt-Lee. Sbu didn’t get a run out for the Boks but his confidence will still be high having been part of the group. I have no doubt that he is raring to go, and this is his chance.”
“Connacht is a dangerous team. We saw that in the last competition when they gave us a good smack in Galway. A lot has changed since then, and we know what we have to do this weekend.”
Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse; 14 Canan Moodie; 13 Cornal Hendricks; 12 David Kriel; 11 Sbu Nkosi; 10 Johan Goosen; 9 Zak Burger; 8 Elrigh Louw; 7 Marco van Staden; 6 Marcel Coetzee; 5 Ruan Nortje; 4 Walt Steenkamp; 3 Francois Klopper; 2 Johan Grobbelaar; 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels; 17 Simphiwe Matanzima; 18 Mornay Smith; 19 Janko Swanepoel; 20 Reinhardt Ludwig; 21 Embrose Papier; 22 Chris Smith; 23 Lionel Mapoe
Date: Friday, September 30
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 18.30 (16.30 GMT; 17.30 Ireland time)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa) & Griffin Colby (South Africa)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)