The Vodacom Bulls have made two changes to the Match Day 23 ensemble that will do duty in round two of the 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship. The Tshwane outfit travel to Belfast to take on Ulster on Sunday 29 October, kick off is at 21h00.
Utility back Cornal Hendricks, speedster Stravino Jacobs and flyhalf Chris Smith come into the matchday 23 for Harold Vorster and Jaco van der Walt. Hendricks slots into the starting xv at inside centre whilst Chris Smith will get a run from the impact squad. The former lines up alongside David Kriel at outside centre with Jacobs and Sebastian de Klerk on the wings. Devon Williams will once again start at fullback.
The backline will be conducted by the halfback combination of Embrose Papier and Johan Goosen whilst the forward pack remains unchanged from the match against Scarlets.
Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar and Wilco Louw line up in the front row with Ruan Vermaak and Ruan Nortje in the second, supported Marcell Coetzee, Elrigh Louw and last week’s player of the match, Cameron Hanekom in the third row.
Director of rugby, Jake White has opted for a 5-3 split which will see Akker van der Merwe, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Reinhardt Ludwig, Nizaam Carr, Zak Burger, Chris Smith, and Stedman Gans will set a feature from the impact squad.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, White said: “It is early days but it is nice to have guys like (Cameron) Hanekom make their debut and really put in the kind of performances that he did, winning the man of the match. It is quite nice as a coach to know that there is still a couple of combinations that we can try. I thought Nizaam (Carr) was wonderful and he went into the open-side and did very well,”
“It is a 4G pitch, it will most likely rain and that presents a lot of challenges for us but we must learn from last year. Their set pieces are strong and they have great players in certain positions and we must make sure we match them in those positions.”
On the opposition, he said: “It is going to be a tough game, playing Ulster early up. They have a lot of passion and they are playing in their new field and I am sure they will want to impress on their first home game and they will be inspired because we had the same feel last week on our new turf,”
“From the start we had last week, we have to play well and build on.”
VODACOM BULLS vs ULSTER STARTING XV:
1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marcell Coetzee (c), 7. Elrigh Louw, 8. Cameron Hanekom, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. Stravino Jacobs, 12. Cornal Hendricks, 13. David Kriel, 14. Sebastian de Klerk, 15. Devon Williams
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD:
16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Reinhardt Ludwig, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Zak Burger, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Stedman Gans
Jake White – Director of Rugby, Chris Rossouw – Assistant Coach, Gary Gold – Assistant Coach, Andries Bekker – Assistant Coach, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr. Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist, Darryn Berry – Physiotherapist, Andre Volsteedt – Strength & Conditioning, Yusuf Vahed – Sport Scientist, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, Simon Dyidi – Logistics Manager