Pretoria - Blue Bulls coach Pote Human has named his squad for his 2018 Currie Cup campaign, with experienced loose forward Hanro Liebenberg named skipper and outside back Johnny Kotze the vice-captain.
Liebenberg is no stranger to the captaincy role, having led the Blue Bulls in this capacity before, and is welcomed back after missing the 2017 tournament due to injury.
The squad includes Springboks in Marnitz Boshoff and Jamba Ulengo, while Blitzboks Heino Bezuidenhout and Stedman Gans were also named among the backs and former Blitzbok, Boom Prinsloo, as one of the loose forwards.
New additions to the squad include some standouts from the recent SuperSport Rugby Challenge, like Earll Dowrie and Mornay Smit, while youngsters like Josh Aldermann and Reagan Oranje are promoted from the junior ranks.
Adding to the new faces during the warm-ups are Carel du Plessis, Dan Kasende and Viktor Sekekete, three young men that will be included in the system on a trial.
Cheetahs recruit, Paul Schoeman, is also in the squad. The flank moved from Bloemfontein after the PRO14 season.
The men in blue will be without a number of senior players, with seven at national duty with the Springboks and three playing in Japan for the remainder of the year.
The Springboks are RG Snyman, Trevor Nyakane, Marco van Staden, Jesse Kriel, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard and Ivan van Zyl, while Jason Jenkins, Jannes Kirsten and Burger Odendaal are playing in Japan.
The squad will also be missing Gerhard Steenekamp, Tim Agaba, Lizo Gqoboka, Roelof Smit, Nqoba Mxoli, Travis Ismaiel and Warrick Gelant due to long term injuries.
Blue Bulls Currie Cup squad:
Divan Rossouw, Earll Douwrie, Duncan Matthews, Jamba Ulengo, Xolisa Guma, Irvin Ali, JT Jackson, Heino Bezuidenhout, Franco Naude, Christopher Hollis, Stedman Gans, Jade Stighling, Johnny Kotze, Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok, Boeta Hamman, Tony Jantjies, Garrick Matthews, Tinus de Beer, Andre Warner, Theo Maree, Josh Allderman, Raegan Oranje, Thembelani Bholi, Denzil Hill, Jano Venter, Abongile Nonkontwana, Hanro Liebenberg (captain), Paul Schoeman, Nic de Jager, Ruan Steenkamp, Boom Prinsloo, Roelof Smit, Ryno Pieterse, Hendre Stassen, Ruben van Heerden, Aston Fortuin, Ruan Nortje, Eli Snyman, Matthys Basson, Frans van Wyk, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Conraad van Vuuren, Madot Mabokela, Mornay Smith, Jaco Visagie, Edgar Marutlulle, Johan Grobbelaar, Corniel Els, Jan-Henning Campher
Blue Bulls warm up match:
Friday, August 10: Blue Bulls vs Griffons in Welkom
Blue Bulls Currie Cup fixture list (times TBA):
August 17 - Free State Cheetahs (Bloemfontein)
August 25 - Sharks (Durban)
September 1 - Golden Lions (Pretoria)
September 8 - Griquas (Kimberley)
September 14 - Pumas (Pretoria)
October 13 - Western Province (Pretoria)