Handré Pollard will start at inside centre for the Blue Bulls in their semi-final against Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.
The Springbok flyhalf has replaced the injured Burger Odendaal in the Bulls midfield after the latter was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken arm. In other changes to the side that did duty against Griquas last weekend, Rudy Paige starts at scumhalf ahead of Piet van Zyl, while Werner Kruger replaces Bok prop Marcel van der Merwe in the front row.
Pollard has been running at inside centre all week for the Bulls, where coach Frans Ludeke says he's fitted in seamlessly.
'It was easy to slot in Handrè at 12 where he played a lot of his rugby last year,' said Ludeke. 'He fitted in nicely and we are expecting a special effort from him, but this will not be won by individuals, but by a mighty team effort.'
The Bulls have faced Province on two occasions already this season, but have yet to taste victory against their rivals from the south. However, they head into the match on the back of three consecutive victories and are confident of making their first final since 2009 – the last time they won the competition.
'WP must be favourites and rightly so,' said Ludeke. 'They have played great rugby this season and deservedly are hosting a semi-final. We lost to them twice in this competition so we are under no illusion on the magnitude of our challenge.
'All that said, we are certainly not travelling down south to go and surrender. We are going down there to win the match and get into the final. That was what this group has worked for very hard this season.'
Blue Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Handré Pollard, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sampie Mastriet, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images