Marcell Coetzee will return to lead the Vodacom Bulls in their Carling Currie Cup semi-final clash against DHL Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
The Vodacom Bulls captain last featured in the side’s 56-33 win over the Tafel Lager Griquas in the round stages of the competition.
Coetzee’s inclusion, as he replaces WJ Steenkamp, is one of four changes to the starting XV that beat the Toyota Cheetahs in the final round match last weekend. These changes include the rotation of Schalk Erasmus, who will wear the No.2 jersey this week, and Jan-Hendrik Wessels, who will provide hooker cover from the bench.
In the backline, Harold Vorster makes a return and partners up with Lionel Mapoe for the midfield pairing. Cornal Hendricks, who played at centre last week, shifts to wing where he replaces Kurt-Lee Arendse. At scrumhalf, Zak Burger will earn a starting berth in the semi-final to form what has been a familiar halfback pairing with Johan Goosen.
Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, said ahead of the semi-final encounter: “The knockout stages of the Carling Currie Cup are always a notch or two higher in intensity and competitiveness. That will certainly be the case against a determined DHL Western Province side this week.
“This week our group of players have been working hard to ensure that we are prepared physically and mentally for what lies ahead. Thankfully, we have a number of players in this group who have been at this stage of the competition before. We will rely on each of them to put their bodies on the line this week against quality opposition.”
The match will kick-off at 19h00 and it will be televised on SuperSport.
The Vodacom Bulls team to face DHL Western Province is:
15. David Kriel (Betway Centurion)
14. Cornal Hendricks (Northam)
13. Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria)
12. Harold Vorster (Northam)
11. Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria)
10. Johan Goosen (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
9. Zak Burger (Tuine)
8. Elrigh Louw (FNB Tuks)
7. Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
6. Marcell Coetzee (ABE Midas Naka Bulle) – Captain
5. Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
4. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria)
3. Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion)
2. Schalk Erasmus (Tuine)
1. Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels (U20)
17. Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
18. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine)
19. Jacques du Plessis (FNB Tuks)
20. WJ Steenkamp (Tuine)
21. Keagan Johannes (FNB Tuks)
22. Chris Smith (Harlequins)
23. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins)
24. Joe van Zyl (Harlequins)
25. Reinhardt Ludwig (U20)
26. Jaco Labuschagne (Pretoria)
27. Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria)
28. Stedman Gans (Northam)