Smith gets first Bulls start

Chris Smith will earn his first start at flyhalf when the Vodacom Bulls host the Pumas in their final Super Rugby Unlocked match on Saturday.

Smith, who joined the Bulls on an initial loan last year from the Pumas, is set to face his former side as Morne Steyn has been given the weekend off after starting every game for the Bulls so far.

Steyn’s well-deserved break means that Clinton Swart will provide backup at both flyhalf and centre on the bench.

There are just two more changes to the Bulls starting lineup, both among the forwards. Springbok flank Arno Botha will wear the No 7 jumper with Elrigh Louw dropping out of the match-day squad entirely due to injury.

Meanwhile, Corniel Els starts at hooker with Joe van Zyl on the bench in a direct swap as incumbent Johan Grobbelaar is still nursing an injury.

This match marks the first meeting between the teams at Super Rugby Unlocked level, with the Bulls determined to maintain their winning streak as they secured victories in their previous three matches including a come-from-behind win against the Lions a fortnight ago.

The Bulls have been impressive on attack registering 17 tries while conceding only seven. Equally impressive is their defence, as they have conceded only 3.4 clean breaks and beaten 14.4 defenders thus far, according to Opta Stats.

Bulls 15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8.Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19  Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren.

Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images/Getty Images