RG and Lood to lock horns in Durban
Regular Vodacom Bulls lock combination, RG Snyman and Lood de Jager, will reunite in Durban on Saturday, when the Vodacom Bulls will lock horns with the Cell C Sharks in Round Seven of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
Snyman last played for the Vodacom Bulls in Hamilton a month ago and De Jager in Christchurch three weeks ago before injury broke up the partnership that played together so impressively in the opening four rounds of the competition.
With his premier lock pairing available for selection again, Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell, moved Jason Jenkins to the bench and Ruben van Heerden out of the match 23 for this important clash.
He also recalled a fit-again Andre Warner, who will replace Embrose Papier as back-up scrumhalf.
“We have all to play for,” said Mitchell when he named his team in Pretoria on Thursday.
“One thing we can bank on is that this will require a huge effort from our side if we want to beat the Sharks at home. They will not make it easy for us or allow us to rule the game. This will be hard work and we need to be prepared for that.”
The coach welcomed back the lock pairing. “Both has played very well and has grown as a combination, so I am pleased to have both back again. They bring a nice mix to our skill set and I am expecting them to be influential in the match.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, said they could not afford to lose momentum again during the next couple of weeks. “We started well, then lost our way and with us bouncing back nicely against the Stormers, it is time to kick on. The week’s rest has done all of us well, so we are keen to go and record a win in Durban. We have the players and the game plan to be very competitive against a strong Sharks team.”
The team (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (24, 35), Johnny Kotze (25, 20), Jesse Kriel (51, 40), Burger Odendaal (c; 37, 15), Divan Rossouw (5, 10), Handre Pollard (37, 333), Ivan van Zyl (8, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (24, 15), Thembelani Bholi (20, 5), Marco van Staden (6, 5), Lood de Jager (55, 15), RG Snyman (29, 10), Trevor Nyakane (85, 15), Adriaan Strauss (149, 85), Pierre Schoeman (30, 15). Replacements: Jaco Visagie (26, 5), Lizo Gqoboka (32, 10), Frans van Wyk (7, 0), Jason Jenkins (32, 25), Roelof Smit (19, 5), Andre Warner (6, 5), Manie Libbok (2, 0), Duncan Mathews (6, 15).
•The Vodacom Bulls are undefeated in their last five games against the Sharks (W4, D1); their longest ever run without a loss against them.
•Adriaan Strauss will extend his Vodacom Super Rugby record to 150 games, the most of any South African in the tournament.
VODACOM BULLS AND BLUE BULLS TO RECONNECT WITH CLUB COMMUNITIES
The Vodacom Blue Bulls Currie Cup squad accompanied by John Mitchell and a number of Vodacom Super Rugby players will have three training sessions at clubs in the Pretoria region.
According to Mr Willem Strauss, President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, this forms part of a strategy to reconnect the team with the community. “We want to create heroes and role models for our club communities and supporters, and we hope that this strategy will contribute,” Strauss elaborated.
The team will be training at the various clubs, which will be followed by a signing session and an opportunity for the club players and coaches to interact with Mitchell and the professional players.
Trainings sessions will be held at Tuine Rugby Club on 19 April 2018, Noordelikes Rugby Club where Dragons are based on 3 May 2018 and at Centurion Rugby Club on 17 May 2018. We trust that this will lead to more training sessions at clubs in future.