Vodacom Bulls head coach, John Mitchell, named an exciting and larger than normal squad to take on the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon. The game which kicks off at 17h00 and will be played on the B field, will be the Bulls last pre-season warmup against outside opposition, before heading into the much anticipated Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Springbok lock Lood De Jager will captain the run-on squad, which will also include fellow Springboks, Marnitz Boshoff and Trevor Nyakane.
The extended bench will also boast a host of Springboks including Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel and Handre Pollard, with Roelof Smit and RG Snyman also no strangers to the Green and Gold.
The match will see a return to action for the likes of Gelant, Pollard and Kriel, who toured with the Springboks to Europe in November. Jason Jenkins, who returned from Japanese club duties, will also be eager to get a bit of game time off the bench.
“We need to give everyone a proper run and I think this will be a good test for the side,” Mitchell said.
“The approach to this will pretty much be about ourselves and what we want to achieve, but one has to acknowledge that the Jaquares will be a very good test. They have some very good players that will test our guys individually, and also some pretty impressive set pieces and plays, something that will put our structures and processes to a good test.”
Mitchell was happy to have good variety in his selection. “The squad is a balanced one, with lots of players offering a variety of skills to the team. The important thing will be to mould those into the team dynamics, and for it to be tested under pressure. This match will be the perfect test.”
The starting team is: Manie Libbok, Duncan Matthews, Dries Swanepoel, Francois Brummer, Jade Stighling, Marnitz Boshoff, Embrose Papier, Jano Venter, Themba Bholi, Marco van Staden, Lood de Jager (c), Ruben van Heerden, Frans van Wyk, Edgar Marutlulle, Trevor Nyakane.
Substitutions: Warrick Gelant, Divan Rossouw, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Johnny Kotze, Handre Pollard, Andre Warner, Hanro Liebenberg, Jason Jenkins, Roelof Smit, RG Snyman, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Jan-Henning Campher, Matthys Basson, Lizo Gqoboka, Shaun Adendorff, Theo Maree, JT Jackson, Franco Naude, Andell Loubser.