Loftus farewell for Botha
Pretoria - Blue Bulls captain Gary Botha will hope to bid his farewell at Loftus Versfeld with a convincing win over the Leopards in their Currie Cup match on Friday.
The team still have a mathematical chance of advancing to the playoffs, provided they win with a bonus point.
Their fate, however, is not completely in their hands as the result between Western Province and the Pumas would decide whether they move into the top four on the log.
Botha and Bulls team-mate Guthro Steenkamp will both be joining French club Toulouse for next season.
"There will always be emotions if you know it is your last game. I am looking forward to it, but I think the pressure will be more knowing it's my last match," said Botha.
"One never knows what happens in the future, so hopefully I can swing back some other time."
Bulls coach Pine Pienaar said they were bitterly disappointed with their loss to Griquas over the weekend, which narrowed their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
"This coming weekend against Leopards we have to focus on ourselves; we are not in control with what happens with the Province and Puma game. It was the same principle we had against Griquas," said Pienaar.
"We can only blame ourselves for the past weekend against Griquas. We did not do well, and conceded too many turnovers. That is the position we put ourselves in and again we have to focus on this weekend, our last game at home."
Botha said they would not see it as a failure if the Pretoria side did not make it into the next phase of the competition.
"You only learn through trial and error and I’ll rather say we’ll see what the experience is and what we have picked out of it," said Botha.
"As a Bulls player and the strong culture that we have here, it is a personal thing. We will always like to be in a semi-final and a final because we like to see ourselves as an institute that is successful."
The Bulls provisionally announced the return of Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner to their ranks for Friday's clash. Kirchner was the only returning Springbok available for selection.
His inclusion, however, was not set in stone as the Bulls could not get hold of Kirchner who was not yet back from New Zealand.
If he is not available for Friday's match, Jurgen Visser, who is returning from injury, will slot in at fullback.
Gerhard van den Heever, who covered in the last line against Griquas moves to the bench.
15 Jurgen Visser/Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha (captain), 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Jurgen Visser / Gerhard van den Heever
15 Hofmann Maritz, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Charl Weideman, 12 Joubert
Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Wynand Willis, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Johann
Laker, 8 Robert Kruger, 7 MB Lusaseni, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Brendon
Snyman, 4 Brad Mockford, 3 Dewald Coetzee, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1
Substitutes: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Bush
Mxunyelwa, 18 Brend Botha, 19 Spanner Pretorius, 20 George Tossel, 21
Clayton Durand, 22 Jovan Bowles