The Vodacom Bulls’ bid to book a spot in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final received a timely lift with the return of two key players.
The Bulls have jetted out to Dublin, where they will take on Leinster in a URC semi-final at the RDS Arena on Friday night.
Jake White’s charges travelled from SA to Ireland on Sunday, with a few of the personnel leaving local shores on Monday.
White and his 28 charges will begin preparations in Dublin for the all-important clash on Friday with a strong Leinster side that has dominated the competition so far this season.
The Irish also beat the Bulls comfortably 31-3 when the two teams met in the opening round of the URC at Aviva Stadium in September.
The Bulls travelling party will include Simphiwe Matanzima, WJ Steenkamp, Bernard van der Linde, Bismarck du Plessis and Kurt-Lee Arendse to bolster the squad.
Arendse, whose sensational performances had him named SA’s URC Player of the Month for March, has recovered from a fractured thumb which sidelined the fleet-footed fullback since late April.
Veteran hooker Du Plessis was a late withdrawal for the Bulls’ win over the Pumas in the Currie Cup two weeks ago, and was omitted from the match-day 23 for the dramatic victory over the Sharks in the URC quarter-final in Pretoria on Saturday.
Full Bulls squad:
Forwards: Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee (c), Bismarck du Plessis, Johan Grobbelaar, Robert Hunt, Elrigh Louw, Reinhardt Ludwig, Simphiwe Matanzima, Ruan Nortje, Dylan Smith, Mornay Smith, Gerhard Steenekamp, Walt Steenkamp, WJ Steenkamp, Janko Swanepoel, Jan-Hendrik Wessels.
Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Zak Burger, Cornal Hendricks, David Kriel, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Canan Moodie, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Morne Steyn, Madosh Tambwe, Harold Vorster, Bernard van der Linde.