It will be the ten fit Bulls Springboks against the run-on nine of the Sharks when the two teams meet in a final warm-up match before the Super Rugby kick-off at Ballito on Saturday.
Both teams have some injured internationals, but the warm-up should nevertheless provide a fair indication of what they have to offer for the Super Rugby series.
Two opposing Springbok pairings at halfback, two outstandingly exciting fullbacks Warrick Gelant and Aphelele Fassi, Makazole Mapimpi against Cornal Hendricks who is back after a few years out of rugby due to a heart condition, and the three Bok frontrowers against a strong Bulls threesome should also provide interesting entertainment.
♦ The Sharks will take to the field in Ballito with all 15 players in their starting line-up regular team members in 2018.
The Bulls, on the other hand, have five ‘newcomers’ to the Bulls kraal in their kick-off team. Their big Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen tops the list and other Boks Schalk Britz and Cornal Hendriks are also included. The Bulls also field Dylan Sage, grandson of the great Springbok No 8 Doug Hopwood, as one of two Blitzboks in the backline.
Sage is at centre with sevens teammate Rosko Specman on the wing who I also a new Bulls player.
Springbok Cornal Hendriks, after a long lay-off because of a heart problem, is of course also a Blitzbok with another, the flank Tim Agaba, on the bench of 11 players.
The Bulls ten Boks are Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard, Embrose Papier, Duane Vermeulen, Lood de Jager, Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane and Schalk Brits.
The Sharks will field 18 players on their bench. Their Springboks in the starting team are S'bu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Louis Schreuder, Dan du Preez, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and Beast Mtawarira.
They also have three Springboks on the bench: Robert du Preez, Lwazi Mvovo, André Esterhuizen.
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Juan Schoeman, 17 Fezo Mbatha, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Gideon Koegelenberg, 21 Wian Vosloo, 22 Luke Stringer, 23 Phepsi Buthelezi, 24 Cameron Wright, 25 Robert du Preez, 26 Lwazi Mvovo, 27 Andre Esterhuizen, 28 Jeremy Ward, 29 Leolin Zas, 30 Courtney Winnaar, 31 Kerron van Vuuren, 32 Grant Williams, 33 Rhyno Smith
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Dylan Sage, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager (captain), 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Britz, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Jannes Kirsten, 22 Tim Agaba, 23 André Warner, 24 JT Jackson, 25 Jade Stighling, 26 Divan Rossouw.