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The Vodacom Bulls under-21 side will welcome coastal rivals, the DHL Western Province to Loftus Versfeld in round 2 of the 2023 SA Rugby under-21 Cup, looking to get their campaign back on track having suffered defeat in the opening round of the competition.

Wessel du Plessis, the head coach of the young herd said that there were valuable lessons taken from their clash against the Leopards in Potchefstroom.

“Last week we weren’t at our best but good lessons were learned, which we hopefully will be able to implement on this fixture and going forward. We made a few errors that we have worked on and so we go into this encounter looking for a better performance across the board,”

“We could have been much better with territory and we could have used our opportunities better both on defence and attack.”

On their opponents this weekend, the junior mentor said: “We are expecting a very physical battle upfront because both teams have a 6-2 split on the bench. Province has a lot of experienced players and that will help them in this fixture but we are a young side that has prepared very well and are up for the challenge.”

Strydom has made only two changes to his starting line-up, with Michial Damon and Regan Izaks making way for Munashe Dukuzwa at right wing and Jaydon Bantom at fullback.

On the impact squad, Gcino Mdletshe, Jaydon Bantom and Gert Steyn make way for Juan Smal, Nokutenda Mapungwana and Phillip-Albert van Niekerk as the young herd opts for a 6-2 split on the bench.

Kick-off at the Loftus B-field is set for 11:00 a.m. on Spring Day.

VODACOM BULLS UNDER-21 STARTING XV: 1. Corne Lavagna, 2. Juann Else, 3. Mawande Mdanda, 4. Merwe Olivier, 5. Cayno February, 6. Neels Volschenk (c), 7. Ghudian van Reenen, 8. Abulele Ndabambi, 9. Steven Nel, 10. Franco Knoetze, 11. Alfondso Isaacs, 12. Carlton Banies (vc), 13. Katlego Letebele, 14. Munashe Dukuzwa, 15. Jaydon Bantom

VODACOM BULLS UNDER-21 IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Johan Lombard, 17. Tielman Nieuwoudt, 18. Johan Louw, 19. Nokutenda Mapungwana, 20. Lukas Meyer, 21. Caleb Abrahams, 22. Phillip-Albert van Niekerk, 23. Juan Smal

VODACOM BULLS UNDER-21 MANAGEMENT: Wessel Du Plessis – Head Coach, Edgar Marutlulle – Assistant Coach, Ofentse Moeng – Assistant Coach, Dr. Gerhard Louwrens – Team Doctor, Claudette Eckard – Physiotherapist, Limbi Siyani – Sports Scientist, Michael Prevoo – Strength and Conditioning, Tshepo Mashigo – Logistics Manager, Prieur Le Grange – Technical Analyst & Team Manager

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