Morne Steyn will lead the Vodacom Bulls, bolstered by the return of fellow Springbok Bismarck du Plessis, against Western Province in the Currie Cup north-south derby at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday.
A youthful Bulls lineup owes much of its experience to the veteran combo of skipper Steyn and Du Plessis, who last played in a 29-24 win over Munster on 12 March before serving a three-match suspension for a controversial tip-tackle, while two-Test Springbok loosehead Lizo Gqoboka powers up the bench.
“This is another big week of rugby for the Bulls against a strong union. It was important that we have a competitive team to face a dangerous Western Province side,” said Bulls coach Gert Smal.
“We are privileged to have players of Morne Steyn and Bismarck du Plessis’ calibre to provide leadership to a group of youthful, exciting players such as James Verity-Amm and Rynhardt Ludwig, among others.
“We expect Western Province to come hard at us. They will want to get back to winning ways.
“We know what they are capable of as a unit, and we will need to be at our best if we want to continue putting pressure on teams at the top of the table like the Cheetahs.”
Bulls – 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 David Kriel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morne Steyn (c), 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 Muller Uys, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Jaco Labuschagne, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Rynhardt Ludwig, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Subs: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Sebastian Lombard, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 Werner Gouws, 21 Bernard van der Linde, 22 Juan Mostert, 23 Richard Kriel.