Bulls boss John Mitchell will field his strongest available match-day squad in their final pre-season warm-up against the Jaguares in Pretoria on Saturday.
With the exception of Lood de Jager, no other current Springbok player has featured for the Bulls in their three warm-up matches against the Lions, Sharks and Stormers. Handré Pollard, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant and Trevor Nyakane were all given an extended rest period after the 2017 season.
But Mitchell has confirmed that the Bok quartet is set to face the Jaguares at Loftus.
‘We are three weeks away from competition, and we have a week up our sleeves, so we will need to start introducing our Japanese, Test and injury returnees,’ Mitchell said. ‘By the time we get to competition, we must make sure that all our players have at least 120 minutes of rugby under their belts.’
On his side’s 26-26 draw against the Stormers in Wellington last weekend, Mitchell said: ‘It was certainly good growth for us within a week. Obviously we are trying to build depth within the 38 [man squad] and we flipped the team from last week. The mindset was good and the start was terrific, and we probably left a bit out there.
‘We showed good attitude and the structures are starting to show, and we set pieced really well.
‘The intent was good and we are encouraging the players to play what is in front of them. We were a bit premeditated, but last week we had to survive off zero lineout [ball].’
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix