Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Pretoria - Springbok Piet van Zyl is set to miss out on selection for the Bulls starting line-up against the Stormers in their pre-season game in Polokwane this weekend, but only because he needs some game time.
According to the supersport.com website, Van Zyl, who joined the Bulls from the Cheetahs at the end of last season, has slotted in well but at the moment looks to be behind Francois Hougaard in the team pecking order and is set to play understudy to the Bok halfback.
Still, with the Bulls deciding only on one pre-season jaunt, it was felt that Van Zyl would do better getting a full 80 minutes in the early game against the Lions - alongside a virtual Currie Cup side that is set to do battle in this year’s Vodacom Cup.
Van Zyl is likely to partner up and coming SA Under-20 flyhalf Handre Pollard in a partnership that will be keenly watched, while there are also some other interesting selections that the Bulls will be keen to see this weekend.
One of these is the elevation of utility back Jesse Kriel to the side, an indication that the promising 19-year-old could be destined for a Super Rugby debut later this year.
Equally at home at fullback and centre, Kriel is seen as one of the big things to come in SA Rugby and the Bulls have decided to give him a run to see just what he can produce.
He will be in good company, with former SA Under-20 stars William Small-Smith, Jacques du Plessis and Wian Liebenberg also on the field.
The front row boasts Frik Kirsten, who was called up to the Springboks on last year’s November tour of Wales, Scotland and France while the impressive Bongi Mbonambi and Marcel van der Merwe round out the selection.
Paul Willemse and David Bulbring are lightly to be the locks with Jonno Ross, who captained the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup, set to lead the team into battle.
Probable Bulls side v Lions:
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Ulrich Beyers, 11 Travis Ismael, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wian Liebenberg, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe