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Former Munster No.8 to captain Bulls with Vermeulen rested

By Online Editors
(Photo By Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Former Munster back row Arno Botha is set to captain Jake White’s Bulls as they take on the Phakisa Pumas in their final regular-season Carling Currie Cup match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

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Botha takes over the captaincy with Duane Vermeulen earning a well-deserved break as Tim Agaba steps up to the plate at the back of the scrum. Young WJ Steenkamp rounds out the exciting loose trio. Botha left Munster last May after spending two seasons with the Irish province.

The Bulls team sees a host of U21 champions tasting senior rugby for the first time. Dawid Kellerman takes over the inside centre position alongside Marnus Potgieter. Clinton Swart starts at fullback as the utility back continues to show his worth across the backline, while Jade Stighling and Stravino Jacobs continue to patrol the wings. Experienced Springboks, Morné Steyn and Ivan van Zyl resume their successful halfback partnership.

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Janko Swanepoel will make his first start of the Carling Currie Cup at no.5 lock, after a debut of the bench a few days ago against the Xerox Lions. There’s an all-new and exciting front row in Jan-Hendrik Wessels and Gerhard Steenekamp propping up Joe van Zyl.

The replacements are a mix of experience and youth, with Springboks Lizo Gqoboka and Marcel van der Merwe serving as backup props while Divan Venter, Keagan Johannes and Kabelo Mokoena all looking to earn their debuts.

“This is a great opportunity for us to give some of our exciting youngsters a taste of senior rugby. These boys have done really well on the training field and have been eagerly awaiting their opportunity, and now they get to show what they are made of on the big stage. It’s important that they get up to speed with their senior colleagues while still securing a victory in Nelspruit.” White explained.

Vodacom Bulls: 15. Clinton Swart, 14. Jade Stighling, 13. Marnus Potgieter, 12. Dawid Kellerman, 11. Stravino Jacobs, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 8. Tim Agaba, 7. Arno Botha (C), 6. WJ Steenkamp, 5. Janko Swanepoel, 4. Jan Uys, 3. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 2. Joe van Zyl, 1. Gerhard Steenekamp.

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Replacements: 16. Johan Grobbelaar, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Marcel van der Merwe, 19. Divan Venter, 20. Elrigh Louw, 21. Keagan Johannes, 22. Kabelo Mokoena, 23. Jay-Cee Nel.

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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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