The Vodacom Bulls have made wholesale changes to the matchday 23 that will do battle in round 2 of the 2023 Currie Cup competition, with Marutlulle opting to bring in 14 fresh pairs of legs as the herd prepares to take on arch-rivals, the DHL Western Province in the classical North-South derby.
Kick-off for the nostalgic meeting is set for 19h05pm, on Friday 17 March 2023.
The forwards’ pack will see Gerhard Steenekamp slotting into loose-head prop as Mornay Smith starts at tight-head, both flanking Johann Grobbelaar at hooker. The second row will feature Ruan Vermaak and club captain, Ruan Nortje lining up at lock. Marco van Staden (blind-side), Cyle Brink (open-side), and Elrigh Louw (eight-man) complete the back row.
Scrum-half, Zak Burger and fly-half, Chris Smith will link up as the half-back pairing with Harold Vorster (inside) and Cornal Hendricks (outside) directing traffic at the centre.
Sbu Nkosi and Quewin Nortje will line up at left and right wing respectively. 19-year-old Nortje, a former 1st team cricketer and rugby player at Affies, will be making his senior Currie Cup debut for the Vodacom Bulls. The young speedster has impressed throughout his time within the junior ranks, showing incredible versatility that has earned him his first team call.
The backs will have David Kriel marshalling the troops from the back.
The changes remain part of the rotation plan as well as the need to ensure that all players have sufficient game time as the club heads into the final rounds of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship season as well as the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup.
VODACOM BULLS vs DHL WESTERN PROVINCE STARTING XV:
1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Johann Grobbelaar, 3. Mornay Smith, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Cyle Brink, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Zak Burger, 10. Chris Smith, 11. Sbu Nkosi, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Cornal Hendricks, 14. Quewin Nortje, 15. David Kriel
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD:
16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Bismarck du Plessis, 18. Francois Kloppers, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. WJ Steenkamp, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Morne Steyn, 23. Stedman Gans
MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Edgar Marutlulle – Head Coach, Sean Everitt – Defence & Breakdown, Hugo van As – Backline, Gert Smal – Forwards, Andre Volsteedt – Strength & Conditioning, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr. Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist, Kyle Meyer – Physiotherapist, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, Simon Dyidi – Logistics Manager