Polokwane - It will be two teams with totally different objectives that take the field in the main warm-up match at Polokwane on Saturday night when the Bulls and the Lions get their Super 14 seasons under way.
While the Bulls will concentrate on getting their structures and teamwork in place, the run-out for the Lions will be more of a stocktaking exercise for coaching director Dick Muir and the Lions' coaches.
Both sides will also have the obvious pressure to perform, but the Bulls will look to retain their title this season while the Lions are out to improve on another poor campaign last year.
The Lions have set realistic targets for 2010. Muir says they simply want to improve on a weekly basis, and he was very careful to emphasise that they were aiming at a gradual improvement.
"We’ve set certain goals, and we do have a target in mind," said Muir.
"It's a process and we want to improve every week and we want to refine the side."
While Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has picked his strongest available team for the main game on Saturday, and his second stringers for the earlier match, Muir has divided his best players in two separate teams of virtually equal strength.
The Lions’ new director of coaching views it solely as a trial game and it’s a make or break opportunity for a number of players to remain in his plans.
It’s impossible to list what Muir and company will be looking at, and a real glimpse of their side will probably only be available when they select for the warm-up against the Pumas next week.
On the Bulls side, there will be special interest to see how returnees Gary Botha (from London harlequins) and Jacques-Louis Potgieter (from the Cheetahs) perform.
In both instances, positions other than their own will be under scrutiny.
In the case of Botha, his return sees Derick Kuun revert to flank, where he was one of the best before his switch to the middle of the scrum. Whether or not Botha will improve one of the Bulls’ weaknesses last year, the scrum, will be of particular interest - even at this early stage.
Flyhalf Potgieter will fill in at inside centre with Wynand Olivier still not available - and will conceivably be used there regularly during the season.
Bulls: Blue team: Zane Kirchner, Gerhard van den Heever, Jaco Pretorius, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, John Mametsa, Morn Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pedrie Wannenburg, Derick Kuun, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (capt), Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Gary Botha, Gurthr Steenkamp. Replacements: Jaco Engels, Bandise Maku, Bees Roux, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Ruan Snyman, Francois Brummer, Stephan Dippenaar, Dries van Schalkwyk, De Wet Barry.
White team: Tiger Mangweni, Sampie Masriet, Stephan Dippenaar, Stefan Watermeyer, Clayton Blommetjies, Francois Brummer, Ruan Snyman, Dries van Schalkwyk, CJ Stander, Okkie Kruger, Wilhelm Steenkamp (capt), Fudge Mabeta, Bees Roux, Bandise Maku, Jaco Engels. Replacements: Henri Bantjes, Dean Greyling, Cornell Hess, Devin Oosthuizen, Danie Faasen, Marnitz Boshoff, Wynand Willis, Rossouw de Klerk, De Wet Barry.
Lions: Black team: Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Rouan Cloete, Justin St Jerry, Shandre Frolick, Burton Francis, Chris Jonck, Jonathan Mokuena, Thabo Mamojele, Danie Crous, Franco van der Merwe, Jannes Labuschagne (capt), JC Janse van Rensburg, Derek Harwood, Lawrence Sephaka. Replacements: Hans Van Dyk, Nico Luus, Johan Van Deventer, Doppies la Grange, Jannie Boshoff, Alwyn Hollenbach.
Red team: Michael Killian, Wigan Pekeur, Deon van Rensburg, Walter Venter, Henno Mentz, Herkie Kruger, Alex Koch, Todd Clever, Derrick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar (capt), Willem Stoltz, George Earl, Kevin Buys, Hannes Franklin, Heinke van der Merwe. Replacements: Charles Enslie, David Bulbring, Robert Kruger, Alistair Siegelaar, Trompie Nontshinga, Wandile Mjekevu.