Former Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff will start at flyhalf for the Blue Bulls on Friday and another Springbok, flank Marco van Staden, is also back in the only other change to the starting line-up when the Bulls play the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in the third round of the Currie Cup.
It’s a sort of homecoming for the Nelspruit-born Boshoff to the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. He replaces Manie Libbok, who has showed glimpses of his class but not always good judgement and with patches or over-exuberance counting against him.
Boshoff, a prolific goal-kicker for the Lions, has also played for Connacht in the PRO14 with injuries curtailing his appearances in his two years at the club.
Van Staden has been released from the Bok training squad and moves up from the bench where he played from last weekend. He takes over from Roelof Smit.
Ruan Steenkamp will again lead the side in the absence of Burger Odendaal who pulled out of last weekend's match to a leg injury shortly before kick-off and is still not available for action.
Odendaal’s replacement then, Dylan Sage, will wear the number 12 jersey.
♦ Blue Bulls coach Pote Human also made a number of changes to his bench, with Libbok dropping into an impact-player role this time around. André Warner will also get his first run in the competition off the bench, replacing Ivan van Zyl.
Loose forward Wihan Vosloo is fit again and will play off the bench. Vosloo made his Blue Bulls debut in Cape Town two weeks ago but was injured early in the game and will be keen to add his effort when called upon.
"We are in trouble with no wins after two rounds and so are the Pumas. They were unlucky in both their losses as they were pipped at the end, while we were outplayed in both our defeats. Given that the match is on their home turf, they must be favourites," Human said.
"I know it is very early in the competition, but the reality is that another defeat could be a killer-blow for our chances to win the Currie Cup this year. We need to play with the urgency brought about by that reality and make sure we get our campaign back on track."
Steenkamp said they will have to show they are capable to go all the way.
"It is almost like the slogan for the tournament, it is effort re-loaded for us. We need a strong showing and we need a win. We are going into a venue where the Pumas have beaten us in the past, so they will come at us. We are all playing for the Blue Bulls to show that we are the best team in the competition and that starts on Friday."
Divan Rossouw, Cornal Hendricks, Johnny Kotze, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Marnitz Boshoff, Embrose Papier, Tim Agaba, Marco van Staden, Ruan Steenkamp (captain), Ruan Nortje, Andries Ferreira, Wiehahn Herbst, Jaco Visagie, Simphiwe Matanzima. Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Conraad van Vuuren, Adri Smit, Wihan Vosloo, Andre Warner, Manie Libbok, Jade Stighling.