Will the Vodacom Bulls spring a surprise and bring former captain Dewald Potgieter straight back into the starting lineup?
That’s the question that needs to be answered ahead of their team announcement to face the Blues in their Vodacom Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Potgieter hasn’t actually been confirmed to be returning to the Bulls – a situation that is strange and bizarre in itself – but it is hoped he will receive the necessary permission from his Japanese club today to let him train again with the team.
Although the decision is a strange one – especially as the Bulls last year virtually told Potgieter he needed to leave by offering him half his contract value to renew – and then were not the happiest people with his captaincy decisions in the Super Rugby semifinal against the Brumbies, they now seem so desperate to have him back that they would rush him straight into the match 23.
Word from the camp is that Potgieter will either start at No 8 or be on the bench for this weekend’s game, with a final decision needing to be taken by coach Frans Ludeke, but either way, there are some interesting changes expected to the loose trio.
Deon Stegmann’s return will see him move into the openside flanker position, with Jono Ross moving to 8 if Potgieter doesn’t get the permission in time, or it is decided to play him off the bench.
Apart from the moves around the loose trio, Victor Matfield’s commanding performance at lock will see him start the game again while the rest of the side will remain unchanged.
The game will be a particular milestone for the two Bulls wingers.
Akona Ndungane will play his 100th game – becoming the first black rugby player in South Africa to play 100 games for one franchise. His brother Odwa, who played for the Bulls and currently is at the Sharks, is the first black player to play 100 Super Rugby games.
Bjorn Basson will play his 50th game for the Bulls when he gets onto the field.