Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, named Warrick Gelant at fullback for his side’s Currie Cup match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Pretoria on Saturday and also named new signing, Jano Venter, on the bench.
Gelant, who is part of the Springboks squad for the Rugby Championship, has been released for Currie Cup duties, while Venter joined from the Xerox Golden Lions, where he played earlier in the season.
Marais also welcomes back a fit-again Conraad van Vuuren at tighthead in place of John-Roy Jenkinson and promoted Abongile Nonkontwana into the starting pack, with the flanker replacing injured Jannes Kirsten.
Regular captain Boom Prinsloo was a late withdrawal due to flu and his place will be taken by Shaun Adendorff, who moves up from the bench.
Marco van Staden/Clyde Davids will take over Adendorff’s spot on the bench and will make his Currie Cup debut if he takes to the field.
Burger Odendaal take over as captain for this clash.
A new face on the bench is Dayan van der Westhuizen, who was on loan at the Southern Kings. He comes in for Matthys Basson at prop.
“We need a strong performance on Saturday. The two defeats in our last two matches really hurt, but there were some positives signs, especially the way we finished against Western Province last weekend. That said, we now know that the bar is set very high in the Currie Cup and everyone is aware that only our very best effort will get us over the line,” Marais said.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to face Toyota Free State Cheetahs (with Currie Cup caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (18 (25), Kefentse Mahlo (2, 10), Dries Swanepoel (21, 20), Burger Odendaal (c, 35, 30), Jamba Ulengo (24, 90), Piet van Zyl (45 (60), Nic de Jager (11, 10), Abongile Nonkontwana (4, 5), Shaun Adendorff (9, 10), Ruben van Heerden (4, 10), Conraad van Vuuren (3, 0), Jan-Henning Campher (4, 0), Pierre Schoeman (17, 5). Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar (2, 5), Dayan van der Westhuisen (4, 5), Jano Venter (0, 0), Marco van Staden (0, 0)/Clyde Davids (0, 0), Andre Warner (12, 5), Joshua Stander (11, 24), JT Jackson (3, 2).