Pretoria - Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais has named flank Lappies Labuschagne as captain for their friendly clash against Japanese outfit Canon Eagles, in Machida, Tokyo on Friday.
The starting team is packed with players who have played in the Super Rugby tournament this year, with only former Springbok Sevens speedsters - Warrick Gelant (fullback) and Jamba Ulengo (wing) - and former Junior Springbok Dries Swanepoel having not played at that level.
Marais included Springboks Deon Stegmann, Werner Kruger, Arno Botha, Francois Hougaard and Dean Greyling, with Bandise Maku playing off the bench.
"This is a great opportunity for us to get into the thick of things in an unfamiliar environment. We have been treated wonderfully well and I want to thank our hosts, but come Friday, we will not be treated with gloves anymore. We are expecting a tough encounter from a team packed with quality players. This is a final test to our preparations and we need to make the most of it," said Marais.
Blue Bulls team:
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 William Small-Smith, 23 Nqoba Mxoli, 24 Hanro Liebenberg, 25 Dan Kriel, 26 Jannes Kirsten, 27 Kefentse Mahlo