New-look Bulls to face Cheetahs

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais has selected a youthful side for Saturday’s Currie Cup opener against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Former Cheetahs flanker Lappies Labuschagne will lead a side that includes a number of players who have featured for the Junior Springboks in recent years.

Warrick Gelant and Travis Ismaiel will earn their first Currie Cup caps in the backline, while replacements Nqoba Mxoli, RG Snyman, Ivan van Zyl and Dries Swanepoel could all make a first Currie Cup appearance off the bench.

Hanro Liebenberg, Marvin Orie and Jaco Visagie will also be running out as Bulls Currie Cup players for the first time on Saturday.

With Francois Hougaard at scrumhalf, and fellow Boks such as Deon Stegmann, Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling in the pack, Marais said he was pleased with the composition of the squad.

‘We have a good blend of youth and experience and I hope we can find the right mix in our playing style to add to that. I am positive that we can mix it up in our approach, and with a changed mindset we will carry the ball a bit more and use it in a positive way. But you don’t change things overnight, so I am comfortable in the knowledge that we have a good backup plan too.’

Blue Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Nqoba Mxoli, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dries Swanepoel.

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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