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.
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.
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.
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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