New signing starts for Bulls, Coetzee at 8

A new signing will be in action for the Bulls as coach Jake White and the senior players return for the Currie Cup clash with the Pumas on Friday.

Simphiwe Matanzima is the only player in the match 23 from this past weekend’s Currie Cup match against Western Province, with the bulk of the squad now expectedly made up of players from the Rainbow Cup final.

Hooker Schalk Erasmus will be propped up in the front row by Springbok Lizo Gqoboka and Mornay Smith, with Walt Steenkamp and Janko Swanepoel adding their weight to the tight five. Gerhard Steenekamp and Johan Grobbelaar will get a well-deserved break this weekend after putting in weeks on the trot in the Rainbow Cup SA.

The loose trio remains unchanged from the one that did battle in Italy a week ago, with Marcell Coetzee once again leading the boys in blue from the back of the scrum. Nizaam Carr and Ruan Nortje will don the No 6 and 7 jerseys, respectively, and will no doubt bring their expected intense work rate.

Ivan van Zyl and Chris Smith will continue their halfback pairing, while Cornal Hendricks gets a new midfield partner in Harold Voster.

Voster will be making his Bulls debut this weekend after racking up a host of caps for the Lions between 2014 and 2019. His last stint before joining the Vodacom Bulls was in Japan for the Panasonic Wild Knights.

Madosh Thambwe and Stravino Jacobs will once again be patrolling the wings, with Gio Aplon returning in the No 15 jersey. The 38-year-old Aplon has fully recovered from a knee injury and is looking as sensational as always.

White is excited about the weekend ahead, saying: “The young and inexperienced group fought hard last weekend against a quality Province team, and even though the result didn’t go our way they still managed to secure a bonus point. This weekend is a big game for us, and we will be looking to get back to winning ways. The Pumas are coming off the back of a good win and they will be looking to hurt us, but we know what is expected of us.”

The game kicks off at 7pm on Friday evening and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Bulls – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marcell Coetzee (c), 7 Ruan Nortje, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Sydney Tobias, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Muller Uys, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Zak Burger, 22 FC du Plessis, 23 David Kriel.

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack