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Vodacom Bulls Currie Cup head coach, Edgar Marutlulle has selected a balanced mix of experience alongside youth as the herd travels to Bloemfontein for round 3 of the 2023 Currie Cup competition. The fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs is set to kick off at 17h05pm in the afternoon, broadcast live on SuperSport Rugby.

Springbok prop, Lizo Gqoboka returns to the starting lineup, leading the side with Lionel Mapoe serving as his vice. Gqoboka will line up alongside Jan Hendrik Wessels and Robert Hunt in the front row. Jacques Du Plessis and Reinhardt Ludwig will form part of the second row with Cameron Hanekom, Mihlali Mosi and Muller Uys behind them in the back row.

Keagan Johannes will lace up as the conductor with Chris Barend Smit slotting in at fly-half. Vice-captain, Lionel Mapoe and Wandisile Simelane will form part of the centre pairing with Kabelo Mokoena and Quewin Nortje on the wings as Franco Knoetze marshalls the troops at full-back.

Both Franco Knoetze and Adriaan Joubert will be making their debut appearances for the Vodacom Bulls, with Juan Van Der Weshuizen set to feature as one of the club’s success stories.

Reflecting on his selection, Marutlulle said: “We have gone with a balanced side in terms of experience and youth, giving players an opportunity and giving ourselves the best possible combination to get the result. We have also opted to rest some senior players because player management and welfare is important in such a long season as the one ahead.”

“We have the best club system in the land and testament to this fact, is the bubbling talent that filters through from the Carlton League. Congratulations to Franco and Joubert on the debuts and they get to share this special day with Juan and I think all of this is wonderful because it is good to reward our club structures because they continue to help us get to the position of being a dominant franchise in South Africa,”

“We look forward to more players making their debuts from the club system right into the professional ranks, this is fantastic for South African rugby.”

VODACOM BULLS vs TOYOTA CHEETAHS STARTING XV: 1. Lizo Gqoboka (c), 2. Jan Hendrik Wessels, 3. Robert Hunt, 4. Jacques Du Plessis, 5. Reinhardt Ludwig, 6. Cameron Hanekom, 7. Mihlali Mosi, 8. Muller Uys, 9. Keagan Johannes, 10. Chris Barend Smit, 11. Kabelo Mokoena, 12. Lionel Mapoe (vc), 13. Wandisile Simelane, 14. Quewin Nortje, 15. Franco Knoetze

VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Joe Van Zyl, 17. Jacques Van Rooyen, 18. Sebastian Lombard, 19. Juan Van Der Weshuizen, 20. Phumzile Maqondwana, 21. Bernard Van Der Linde, 22. Adriaan Joubert, 23. Juan Mostert

MANAGEMENT: 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

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