Pollard to bench for Bulls

Handré Pollard will make his first Currie Cup appearance of the season against Griquas at Loftus on Saturday.

Pollard has been struggling with an ankle injury this week, but will get some game time from the bench in order to be eligible to play in the knockout stages.

His inclusion is one of a number of changes to the Blue Bulls squad for their final league outing. In a re-jigged backline, Junior Springbok William Small-Smith replaces JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson comes in on the wing for Sampie Mastriet and Piet van Zyl continues his rotation with Rudy Paige.

The Bulls will also boast a completely new front row, where Springbok Marcel van der Merwe replaces Werner Kruger, Morné Mellett starts at loosehead in place of Dean Greyling and Bongi Mbonambi regains the hooking duties from Callie Visagie, who drops to the bench.

Coach Frans Ludeke is pleased to have Pollard available for selection.

'Handré will definitely play a role in the match. He is playing with a lot of confidence coming off a fine performance for the Springboks against New Zealand and we will tap into that,' said Ludeke.

'We need to make sure we beat Griquas well and will be looking for a bonus point, but we will have to build the innings first and make sure we play clever rugby. The likes of William and Bjorn are fresh and they will be keen to have a go.'

Blue Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Morné Mellett.
Subs: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Jesse Kriel.

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix