The Vodacom Bulls prepare to take on the Cell C Sharks this weekend at Loftus Versfeld in another much-anticipated Vodacom Super Rugby Marvel inspired derby.
Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, made three positional changes to the team that left Johannesburg with a victory last weekend and three to the bench, where Paul Schoeman is set for a first appearance for the Vodacom Bulls.
Human swopped Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier at scrumhalf, with the more experienced Van Zyl starting and his fellow Springbok playing off the bench this time, while Tim Agaba and Jannes Kirsten will form a new loose trio with Duane Vermeulen.
Agaba and Kirsten played off the bench against the Emirates Lions last week and comes in for Hanro Liebenberg and Ruan Steenkamp. Liebenberg moves to lock in place of Eli Snyman though.
On the bench, Tembelani Bholi and Schoeman, who played for the Toyota Cheetahs 24 times in Super Rugby, will fill the empty seats left by Agaba and Kirsten.
Human said the team is keen to reproduce the form they showed in the opening match at Loftus Versfeld, when they outplayed the DHL Stormers.
“We did not play well the next weekend in Argentina, but delivered a much better effort last weekend, so I am confident that we will be up for this one as well. The local derbies certainly brings out the best in our teams, so this will be a physical, hard-fought affair again.”
For Pollard, the upward curve remains a priority. “We had a speed bump, but generally we are growing nicely and that’s what it is about. We have to adapt with one or two new faces coming into the starting team,but we all know what needs to be done on the day,” the captain said.
The Vodacom Bulls have lost, amongst others, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal and Lood de Jager to injury already.
Kick-off is at 17h15.
The team (with caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (37, 65), Cornal Hendricks (29, 55), Jesse Kriel (64, 80), Dylan Sage (3, 0), Rosko Specman (3, 10), Handré Pollard (c; 49, 489), Ivan van Zyl (20, 0), Duane Vermeulen (v/c; 112, 45), Tim Agaba (2,0), Jannes Kirsten (19, 10), Jason Jenkins (43, 35), Hanro Liebenberg (31, 15), Trevor Nyakane (94, 15), Schalk Brits (64, 20), Lizo Gqoboka (40, 10). Replacements: Corniel Els (3, 0), Simphiwe Matanzima (3, 0), Dayan van der Westhuizen (13, 0), Tembelani Bholi (32, 5), Paul Schoeman (24, 25), Embrose Papier (13, 5), Manie Libbok (9, 13), Divan Rossouw (14, 15).
The Vodacom Bulls are #TacklingCancer in the Vodacom Super Rugby for CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation: