The Bulls have chosen their best front row of the past six weeks or so, and that is no slight to Jaco Visagie who helped to convincingly win the scrum battle against the Stormers and the Waratahs in the past two weeks.
The Bulls also out-scrummed the Sharks four Saturdays ago, and go into battle with the Crusaders on Friday with their best threesome in the front row.
Whether the defending champions will make more of the struggle in the scrums (before) or after the match than they did against the Sharks who taught them a scrumming lesson in their drawn match last weekend, remains to be seen. The fact is that the Bulls, with their two props Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane, are in top form.
Between them they will have Springbok hooker Schalk Brits, who has served his four-week suspension. and a big pack that will undoubtedly concentrate on the fact that the Crusaders are unhappy with South Africans’ approach to the scrums.
Or rather, it seems that they are unhappy because the somewhat one-dimensional South African sides that don’t score that many tries but disrupt the opposing scrums!
The return for Brits in the place of Visagie is one of three changes , one positional, in the Bulls pack. Jannes Kirsten, who stood in at lock during the injuries to Jason Jenkins and Eli Snyman, reverts to his favourite position at No 7 in place of Hanro Liebenberg, who is recovering from a head knock last weekend
Behind the scrum, André Warner starts in place of Springbok Ivan van Zyl, who drops out of the match-day squad with Embrose Papier starting on the bench in rotational switches.
Burger Odendaal is back after the eye injury that forced him to retire. He plays at inside centre with Johnny Kotze moving to No 13. Dylan Sage is out of the match-day squad.
Human welcomed the return of his two Springboks in the pack.
"Schalk has been itching to play for the last couple of weeks and he will be very keen. Jason also recovered well and looked very sharp in training. Both are players of international standard, so it is great to have them back. Our pack will need to step up to the plate if we want to contain the Crusaders and these two are certainly capable of adding to that."
Bulls captain, Handré Pollard, said they are determined to end this phase of the tournament on a strong footing.
"We travel overseas after this and will only be back at Loftus next month, so this is a very important match for us. We need to do well here in order to maintain our log position and to get some momentum for the tour. Everyone realises what is at stake," he said.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 André Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.