Cornal Hendricks will captain a strong Vodacom Bulls team in their opening match of the 2022 Currie Cup campaign when they take on the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.
Head coach Gert Smal has selected an experienced starting XV led by new skipper Hendricks.
Hendricks is joined in the midfield by David Kriel, whose brother Richard forms a back-three partnership with fellow wing Madosh Tambwe and fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse.
Embrose Papier and Chris Smith form the halfback axis.
Up front, Arno Botha, Elrigh Louw and Jaco Labuschagne are the preferred loose trio, Ruan Nortje and Walt Steenkamp make up the lock combination and front rowers Jacques van Rooyen, Gerhard Steenekamp and Johan Grobbelaar complete the team.
“We have put in some good, hard work over the past few weeks in preparation for the Currie Cup, which promises to be a tough competition yet again this season. We are looking forward to seeing all of that work come together this weekend,” said Smal.
“The Pumas, particularly on their own turf in Mbombela, have always proven to be a tough opposition. We have no doubts that our match on Friday will be another hard-fought battle to kick off the tournament.”
The match will kick off at 7pm and will be televised on SuperSport.
Bulls – 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 David Kriel, 12 Cornal Hendricks (c), 11 Richard Kriel, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Jaco Labuschagne, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Subs: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Juan Mostert, 23 Stedman Gans.