The Vodacom Bulls will go into their Carling Currie Cup clash against the Cell C Sharks with a new-look front row when the two sides face each other at Jonsson Kings Park on Friday night.

With livewire hooker, Johan Grobbelaar, having been called up to the Springbok camp this week following impressive performances in the Vodacom Bulls’ blue colours, Schalk Erasmus has been promoted to the starting XV, where he will be joined by Lizo Gqoboka and Mornay Smith as the new prop combination.

The versatile Cornal Hendricks, who has featured on the right wing in the previous two outings, will make a return to inside centre this week where he will partner up with Harold Vorster, who switches to No.13, for the midfield pairing.

The backline has also received a boost with the return of Stedman Gans from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he represented the SA Sevens side. Gans will slot into the number 11 jersey on the left wing, with ‘live-wire’ Madosh Tambwe also making a return.

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, expressed the side’s enthusiasm ahead of the clash in Durban, “It’s another tough week against a Cell C Sharks team that will want to bounce back from their defeat to the Tafel Lager Griquas last weekend.

“It is a top of the table clash, so we can expect a fierce battle with the Cell C Sharks, who will certainly be up for the contest in an effort to topple us from the top of the log. There is definitely a lot to play for and we will have to be at the top of our game in this contest to continue with the momentum we have so far in the competition.

“We are fortunate to be able to count on the experience of players like Lizo, who starts this week. We are also excited to have the likes of Madosh and Stedman back to bolster the squad, while relying on both the experience and exuberance of the bench to close off the game for us.”

The match will kick off at 19h00 and will be televised on SuperSport.

The Vodacom Bulls team is:

David Kriel (Betway Centurion)
Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria)
Harold Vorster (Northam)
Cornal Hendricks (Northam)
Stedman Gans (Northam)
Johan Goosen (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
Zak Burger (Tuine)
Elrigh Louw (FNB Tuks)
Muller Uys (FNB Tuks)
Marcell Coetzee (ABE Midas Naka Bulle) – Captain
Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
Walt Steenkamp (Betway Centurion)
Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion)
Schalk Erasmus (Tuine)
Lizo Gqoboka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

Jan-Hendrik Wessels (U20)
Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
Mhleli Dlamini (Harlequins)
Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria)
Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
Keagan Johannes (FNB Tuks)
Chris Smith (Harlequins)
Sibongile Novuka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine)
Reinhardt Ludwig (U20)
WJ Steenkamp (Tuine)
Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria)
Richard Kriel (Tuine)