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Ruan Nortje will lead a strong Vodacom Bulls side when the Pretoria outfit welcomes Ospreys to Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 26 November 2022, for round 8 of the 2022/23 season of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

Newly acquired Nizaam Carr will get his first run on since returning to his favoured home whilst Stravino Jacobs moves to left wing with David Kriel on the right. Wandisile Simelane starts at full-back supported by the inside and outside centre pairing of Lionel Mapoe and Harold Voster.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Nortje said: “We are learning and getting to understand our competitors better the more we play against them and that gives us a lot of confidence as team in how much we believe in doing well in the competition. We expect that Ospreys will come prepared and looking to get one over us but we have prepared well and we now have the opportunity to finish off the job.”

Asked about the meteoric development of Ruan Nortje, BBCo Director of Rugby, Jake White said that no one is surprised at how the imposing lock has developed into the gem that he is.

“As a lock he is still going to grow, he’s only 24, but there is no doubt that he will thrive in the role. I am looking forward to seeing him as a captain, especially because the guys around him enjoy hearing from him,”

“I am not surprised that he is where he is now because what he lacks as a player from his size and weighting, he makes up for with how he studies the game and analysis oppositions. The time he spends as a student of rugby is invaluable.”

White – speaking about Nizaam’s appointment at 6 – said: “He gives us more in his overall game than what he will at 6 and he has the likes of Bismarck around him who have the experience to support. Nizaam is unbelievable on attack and can run between the back-line players, I am hoping that his skills come in handy for us,”

“He has played a lot of games for us, even though he was away in between, but he has that innate understanding of our game and I hope that shows come the weekend” the Vodacom Bulls mentor concludes.

The Vodacom Bulls meet Ospreys having regained their good form in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, climbing to 3rd on the log, a point behind second placed Ulster. The Pretoria outfit will also be bolstered by the return of injured players, strengthening White’s side ahead of the clash against the Welsh visitors.

“Whatever people say about them (Osprey), they need to know that this team drew with the champions last season so we know they can play. Yes, they may be under a bit of pressure but we expect that they could very well use that as their motivation to do well in this game,”

“They visit us without some of their internationals but they have a squad that could very well use the match as an opportunity to put their hands up.”

Kick-off against Ospreys is at 15:00pm and the match will be LIVE on SS Rugby.

1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Bismarck Du Plessis, 3. Francois Klopper, 4. Janko Swanepoel, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Nizaam Carr, 7. Wj Steenkamp, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Chris Smith, 11. Stravino Jacobs, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 14. David Kriel, 15. Wandisile Simelane

16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Ruan Vermaak, 20.Cyle Brink, 21. Zak Bruger, 22. Morne Steyn, 23. Marco Jansen van Vuren

MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Nollis Marais – Breakdown, Russell Winter – Forwards, Chris Rossouw – Backs, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist

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