Pretoria - Springbok lock and former SA Rugby Player
of the Year, Lood de Jager, will make his Super Rugby debut for the Bulls on Saturday in Cape Town.
The Bulls will take on Stormers at Newlands in the opening round of the Super Rugby competition.
De Jager, who gained 40 Super Rugby caps
for the Cheetahs, has been named along five Springboks Test players in
the starting team, with Jesse Kriel, Jamba Ulengo, Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige,
and Jacques Potgieter.
RG Snyman and Lizo Gqoboka also played in the green and gold last season, as did Piet van Zyl.
De Jager is one of four newcomers to the Bulls team in their opening fixture of the competition.
Marutlulle and Jacobie Adriaanse (Lions and Southern Kings) have
already played at this level and will make their Bulls debuts when called upon
from the bench, while back-up flanker, Ruan Steenkamp will make his Bulls and Super Rugby debut if he takes to the field.
Pollard will lead the team for the first time
as captain and will make his first appearance in Super Rugby since 29 May 2015,
when he played against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Injuries kept him out of rugby during the
Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, was
keen to get the season underway, despite the massive challenge they face in round one.
"You need to beat the best teams in the
competition if you want to win it and to be honest, there will be no easy
games," he said.
"The Stormers will pose a massive challenge, no doubt, but that will be a
good benchmark for us at the start of our campaign. We have realistic
expectations this year and with a good start, we believe we can still be
involved come the final weekends."
Marais was happy with his squad, despite
missing a number of players.
"We are without proven players such as
Adriaan (Strauss), Arno (Botha), Jan (Serfontein) and Roelof (Smit), but that
is the nature of this competition. Fact is, we have some serious talent in this
group and we owe it to ourselves and our supporters to do justice to that,”
Pollard promised a competitive effort.
"Look, this is one of the classic matches
on the calendar and we look forward to this challenge. The Stormers are a class
team and playing them at home is probably the toughest start of all in the
competition," he said.
"That said, we have the belief in the squad and the confidence that
we can do well this year. We now need to go out there and show our worth."
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12
Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Rudy Paige,
8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Lood
de Jager, 3 Trevor Nyakane , 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlelle, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18
Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian
Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant