Vodacom Bulls Head Coach, John Mitchell, named an unchanged squad to face the Emirates Lions in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Vodacom Bulls opened their campaign with a 21-19 win over the Hurricanes last weekend and the same 23 players will again take the field for this Jukskei derby.
“The guys really showed a lot of courage last weekend, but that is what you expect from a Vodacom Bulls player. More encouraging to me was the belief shown by the guys in how we wanted to execute and play the game. You need to trust the process and each other and that was what happened,” Mitchell explained.
Fullback Warrick Gelant was a late withdrawal last weekend and was replaced by debutant, Divan Rossouw and Mitchell indicated that the Springbok would not be rushed back.
“There is no need for that. Warrick will be back when he is fit and ready. Divan did very well, in fact, the debutants all showed a good appetite for rugby at this level.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, feels that another step-up is needed against the Emirates Lions, who topped the tournament log in 2017.
“They have been solid for a number of seasons now and clearly brought that confidence into their play in 2018. This will be a typical derby with no favours asked or extended and we are all looking forward to this game. We have the advantage of the match being played at Loftus Versfeld and we urge our fans to come out in numbers to support. We are playing for them as much as we are playing for ourselves as a squad.”
The team (with Super Rugby caps and points) is: Divan Rossouw (1, 0), Travis Ismaiel (29, 40), Jesse Kriel (46, 35)*, Burger Odendaal (c; 34, 15), Johnny Kotze (20, 10), Handré Pollard (32, 299)*, Andre Warner (3, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (19, 15), Thembelani Bholi (17, 5), Roelof Smit (14, 5), Lood de Jager (51, 15)*, RG Snyman (26, 10), Frans van Wyk (20, 5), Jaco Visagie (21, 5), Pierre Schoeman (25, 15). Replacements: Adriaan Strauss (144, 70)*, Lizo Gqoboka (27, 5), Conraad van Vuuren (7, 0), Nic de Jager (19, 15), Marco van Staden (1, 0), Embrose Papier (1, 0), Marnitz Boshoff (30, 235)*, Duncan Matthews (5, 15).
Adriaan Strauss will extend his South African record as most capped hooker in Super Rugby when he takes to the field for the 145th time.
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