Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White has handed debuts to new recruits Wilco Louw, Sebastian de Klerk, Devon Williams, Akker van der Merwe and Jaco van der Walt, whilst Cameron Hanekom has also been handed his debut competition appearance as the Tshwane outfit gets its 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship campaign underway.
The herd will host Welsh outfit, Scarlets at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday 22 October for the round 1 clash set for 15h00pm.
Louw will lace up his boots in the famous blue at tight head, alongside Gerhard Steenekamp (loose-head) and Johan Grobbelaar (hooker) in the front row. Behind the trio will be the lock combination of Ruan Vermaak and club co-captain, Ruan Nortje. Nortje’s peer, Marcell Coetzee will start at blindside flank, alongside Elrigh Louw who will start at openside flank as Cameron Hanekom makes his senior debut in the competition at eight.
Embrose Papier (scrumhalf) and Johan Goosen (fly half) will direct traffic at half-back, with Harold Vorster (inside) and David Kriel (outside) combining at centre with Devon Williams at fullback. The backs will have Stravino Jacobs (left) and Sebastian de Klerk (right) running on the wings. It will be Jacobs’ first match in the competition since recovering from his season-ending injury earlier in the year whilst it will also be a first start in a senior club jersey for de Klerk.
On the bench, Reinhardt Ludwig who enjoyed an impressive run in the domestic competition will be on standby with fresh legs whilst Akker van der Merwe and South African-born Scotland international, Jaco van der Walt will be keen to get off the mark in his new club colours since making the move to the capital. Alongside the debutants will be Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Nizaam Carr, Zak Burger and Stedman Gans, all ready to run on as impact players in a five-three bench.
Tickets for the fixture start from R 25.00c and can be bought through Ticketpro.
VODACOM BULLS vs SCARLETS STARTING XV: 1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marcell Coetzee (c), 7. Elrigh Louw, 8. Cameron Hanekom, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. Stravino Jacobs, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. David Kriel, 14. Sebastian de Klerk, 15. Devon Williams
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Reinhardt Ludwig, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Zak Burger, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. Stedman Gans
MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Chris Rossouw – Assistant Coach, Werner Kruger – Assistant Coach, Gary Gold – Assistant Coach, Andries Bekker – Assistant Coach, Jean Tiedt – Assistant Coach, Kennedy Tsimba – Assistant Coach, Phiwe Nomlomo – Assistant Coach, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr. Gerhard Louwrens – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist, Darryn Berry – Physiotherapist, Andre Volsteedt – Strength & Conditioning, Yusuf Vahed – Sport Scientist, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, Simon Dyidi – Logistics Manager