Two Springboks will make a return to the Bulls side to front the Sharks in a top-of-the-table clash at Loftus on Saturday.
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Arno Botha returns to the starting lineup at blindside flank and rounds out an all-Springbok back row along with captain Duane Vermeulen and the industrious Marco van Staden. Botha’s inclusion means that Elrigh Louw shifts to the bench.
The battle up front will be crucial to determining the outcome of the match and the Bulls have plenty of firepower to come off the bench.
Trevor Nyakane makes a welcome return from injury and partners Lizo Gqoboka who will look to add impetus when they are brought on.
In the backline, the Bulls have opted for consistency and have made no changes to the lineup that beat the Stormers last week. Morne Steyn, who has been in conversations with the Springbok coaching staff, has another opportunity to further his Bok cause this weekend..
Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White, highlighted the challenge in store for his men.
‘We’ve had a few epic battles thus far and the Sharks will be keen to get one over us at Loftus as it is something they’ve yet to do. The forward tussle is going to set the tone while both backlines are brimming with relentless talent so it should make for an exciting but hard encounter.’
Kick-off is scheduled for 18h15 on Saturday evening.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 David Kriel (Centurion), 14 Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria) 13. Marco Janse van Vuren (Pretoria), 12. Cornal Hendricks (Northam), 11. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins), 10. Morné Steyn (Tuine), 9. Embrose Papier (Tukkies), 8. Duane Vermeulen (Harlequins, C), 7. Arno Botha (Naka Bulle), 6. Marco van Staden (Pretoria), 5. Ruan Nortje (Naka Bulle), 4. Walt Steenkamp (Centurion), 3. Mornay Smith (Centurion), 2. Johan Grobbelaar (Tukkies), 1. Gerhard Steenekamp (Naka Bulle)
Replacements: 16. Schalk Erasmus (Tuine), 17. Lizo Gqoboka (Naka Bulle), 18. Trevor Nyakane (Harlequins), 19. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), 20. Elrigh Louw (Tukkies), 21. Zak Burger (Tuine), 22. Chris Smith (Harlequins), 23. James Verity-Amm (Pretoria), 24. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), 25. Reinhardt Ludwig (U20), 26. Nizaam Carr (Centurion), 27. Keagan Johannes (Tukkies)