Marcell Coetzee and Ruan Nortje will co-captain a Vodacom Bulls side featuring debuts for two exciting backs and two Springbok front-rowers for the Vodacom URC opener against Scarlets on Sunday.
Jake White has handed Vodacom Bulls debuts to new recruits Wilco Louw, Sebastian de Klerk, Devon Williams, Akker van der Merwe and Jaco van der Walt as the Tshwane outfit gets its 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship campaign underway on Sunday afternoon at 3pm.
Cameron Hanekom has also been handed his debut competition appearance, with the former Junior Springbok loose forward starting at No 8.
Louw will lace up his boots at tighthead prop, alongside Gerhard Steenekamp (loosehead) and Johan Grobbelaar (hooker) in the front row.
Co-captain Nortje takes up his regular second-row partnership with Ruan Vermaak, while fellow co-captain Marcell Coetzee is joined by Hanekom and Elrigh Louw in the back row.
Embrose Papier (scrumhalf) and Johan Goosen (flyhalf) will direct traffic in the halfback combination.
Harold Vorster (inside) and David Kriel (outside) combine at centre with Devon Williams at fullback.
The backs will have Stravino Jacobs (left) and Sebastian de Klerk (right) running on the wings. It will be Jacobs’ first match in the competition since recovering from his season-ending injury earlier in the year whilst it will also be a first start in a senior club jersey for de Klerk.
There are two more potential debuts, as Springbok hooker van der Merwe is joined by South African-born Scotland international, Jaco van der Walt, who is back in the Republic after a stint with Edinburgh.
Bulls – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marcell Coetzee (c0-c), 5 Ruan Nortje (co-c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Stedman Gans.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images