The recall of a fit-again Handré Pollard, first starts to William Small-Smith and David Bullbring and returns for Sampie Mastriet and Marcel van der Merwe highlights the Vodacom Blue Bulls team announcement ahead of their Absa Currie Cup clash against GWK Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
In all, Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar made six changes to his starting line-up, with Jurgen Visser also returning at fullback and Clayton Blommetjies dropping to the bench.
Pollard missed last week’s clash against the MTN Golden Lions due to an ankle injury and comes in for Tony Jantjies, whilst Mastriet made way for Springbok Bjorn Basson’s cameo appearance for the team. Van der Merwe replaces injured Mornè Mellett as loose head prop.
Small-Smith and Bullbring have not started an Absa Currie Cup match for the Vodacom Blue Bulls yet. The outside centre swops places with Ulrich Beyers, who move to the bench, whilst Bullbring comes in for Wilhelm Steenkamp, who drops out of the match 22 altogether.
A fit-again Bongi Mbonambi has also been recalled and will play off the bench, with Jaco Visagie returning to the Under-21 side. According to Pienaar, the team has been selected with a specific plan in mind.
“I think it is fair to say that we will try and play in a particular way and for that, we will need a very strong contribution from our bench. All 22 will have to contribute if we want to beat Griquas in Kimberley.
They are a very dangerous side at home and came so close in a number of their matches. This really will be our toughest challenge of the season, given our log position and the number of matches left.”
Vodacom Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (Captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten / Dean Greyling, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Ulrich Beyers, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.