The Vodacom Bulls have selected an exciting match-day squad of 23 for their crucial Carling Currie Cup match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Muller Uys will be leading the team as captain, while the experienced Jacques van Rooyen will add grunt to the front row as the starting tighthead prop, returning from an injury layoff that has seen him out of action for the past few weeks.
Springbok centre, Lionel Mapoe, also makes a return from injury as he partners with former Blitzbok, Stedman Gans, in the midfield that will add firepower to an exciting backline.
One of the latest Vodacom Bulls recruits, Ruan Vermaak, has also been given a starting berth, donning the No5 jersey while the talented Richard Kriel will be showcasing his versatility with a start at fullback.
The match at the Free State Stadium will prove to be a crucial one for both teams who will be gunning to finish the round robin stages of the Carling Currie Cup at the top of the log and, effectively, could determine who between the two will potentially host a home final in the domestic competition should both teams go all the way to the title-decider at the conclusion of the season.
The Toyota Cheetahs have been high-flying, especially at home, earning an unbeaten run for a long period during the competition before suffering two defeats, including last weekend’s 28-29 defeat to the Airlink Pumas.
The side from Bloemfontein will want to bounce back and continue the good run of form they displayed throughout their campaign.
“This weekend’s Carling Currie Cup game will be like a final before the real final. It’s an absolutely crucial game for both teams,” said Vodacom Bulls head coach, Gert Smal, ahead of the match.
“The Toyota Cheetahs have undoubtedly been the team of the competition, beating all teams, including us, and suffered that close defeat in their previous match. That could make them even more dangerous this week – they will want to bounce back. They have shown how much of a good side they are, how well-coached they are and how hungry and determined they are for success.
“We will have to be at our best to build on the momentum we have accumulated to this point as we go into the important playoff stages from next week. Our boys have worked exceptionally hard this week and I am excited to see the team we have assembled in action.”
The Vodacom Bulls depart for Bloemfontein today for the match. The game will be televised on SuperSport at 16h45 on Saturday.
The Vodacom Bulls team to face the Toyota Cheetahs is:
STARTERS (15-1): Richard Kriel, Tharquin Manuel, Stedman Gans, Lionel Mapoe, Quewin Nortje, Juan Mostert, Keagan Johannes; Muller Uys (CAPT), Jaco Labuschagne, Eric Basson, Ruan Vermaak, Raynard Roets, Jacques van Rooyen, Sidney Tobias, Cebo Dlamini.
IMPACT (16-23): Schalk Erasmus, Tielman Nieuwoudt, Francois Klopper, Ruan Delport, Willie Potgieter, Tiaan Fourie, FC du Plessis, Niel Beukes.