The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be without their leading points’ scorer, JT Jackson, in a crucial SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash against the Xerox Golden Lions in Brakpan on Sunday.
Jackson, who scored 52 points in the opening four matches, was called into the Vodacom Bulls squad to play the Brumbies and this sparked a number of changes in the side.
Wian van Niekerk moves from the bench into the vacancy left at inside centre by Jackson, with Jay-Cee Nel being drafted onto the bench to cover for Van Niekerk.
Duncan Matthews also moves from the bench to fullback, where he replaces Earll Dowrie and Marnitz Boshoff returns to action following a long injury-enforced lay-off.
He will start at flyhalf and will be partnered by Lian du Toit, who also earned promotion from the bench. Du Toit swops places with Theo Maree, who will finish the match.
Up front, the unavailability of Ruan Steenkamp, will see Roelof Smit earning a start at blindside and Eli Snyman taking over the captaincy.
Smit’s elevation means that Muller Uys comes back into the squad and onto the bench.
The Xerox Golden Lions XV and Vodacom Blue Bulls will be involved in a fierce battle, with the Johannesburg side (16 log points) looking to improve on their third place on the log.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, especially if the Down Touch Griffons, also on 10 log points, manage to get past the Valke in their match, also in Brakpan.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls team: 15. Duncan Matthews, 14. Travis Ismaiel, 13. Diego Appollis, 12. Wian van Niekerk, 11. Jade Stighling, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Lian du Toit, 8. Tim Agaba, 7. Thembelani Bholi, 6. Roelof Smit, 5. Eli Snyman (c), 4. Ruan Nortje, 3. Mornay Smith, 2. Werner Fourie, 1. Matthys Basson.
Replacements: 16. Joe van Zyl, 17. Madot Mabokela, 18. Jean Droste, 19. Muller Uys, 20. Theo Boshoff, 21. Theo Maree, 22. Jay-Cee Nel.
The log after four matches:
1. Tafel Lager Griquas 20
2. iSG Pumas 20
3. Xerox Golden Lions XV 16
4. Vodacom Blue Bulls 10
5. Down Touch Griffons 10
6. Valke 8
7. Leopards 6
8. Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 0
Sunday, 26 May (Rugby Festival, Bosman Stadium, Brakpan):
Vodacom Blue Bulls v Xerox Golden Lions XV
Referee: Quinton Immelman
TMO: Pro Legoete