Pretoria - The Blue Bulls are keen to maintain the momentum of their opening win in the Currie Cup when they take on the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night (19:00 kick-off).
The home side won a tight match in Kimberley in week one of the competition and after a bye last week will be keen to start their campaign at home on a winning note as well.
Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais admitted that they want to cash in on the momentum gained in Kimberley.
“We played well against a very competent opponent and at a tough venue to win. That was pleasing to say the least. One of the things we are looking for in this campaign is consistency and improvement in our play. So if we can keep the good things we showed in Kimberley and improve on the weaker areas, we will be on the right track,” Marais said.
The coach made five changes to the side that returned from Kimberley with a full bag of points.
In the backline, winger Duncan Matthews is out with a strain and being replaced by Kefenste Mahlo, who is on Currie Cup debut. Tony Jantjies, who had to withdraw prior to the Griquas match, is fit again and will start at flyhalf, with Tinus de Beer on the bench and Joshua Stander dropping out.
Up front, hooker Jaco Visagie and prop Conrad van Vuuren are out due to injury. They will be replaced by Jan-Henning Campher and John-Roy Jenkinson respectively, who both played off the bench in Kimberley. Their places next to the field at the start will be taken by Johan Grobbelaar and Matthys Basson, who will both debut for the team if they take to the field.
Campher will start for the team for the first time after making his Currie Cup debut in Kimberley.
Irne Herbst is also fit after concussion issues and will start at lock, with Abongile Nonkontwana dropping to the bench in place of Freddy Ngoza.
Herbst will make a first appearance for the team this year after playing for the Southern Kings in the Super Rugby tournament.
Flank Boom Prinsloo will again captain the side. “We are facing a very able opponent. Forget the fact that they are without a number of star players, they will come here to beat us and are good enough to do that if we don’t pitch,” Prinsloo warned.
“We did prepare well though, and there is something special developing in this squad. We are getting amazing input from the coaching staff as well, so I cannot wait for us to go out there and test our new approach.”
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Franco Naude, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Boom Prinsloo (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Abongile Nonkontwana, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 JT Jackson
15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Madosha Tambwe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Marco Janse van Vuren, 8 Ryan Kankowski (captain), 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Sti Sithole.
Substitutes: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Nico du Plessis, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Jano Venter, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Jan-Louis la Grange