Springboks Travis Ismaiel and Marco van Staden will return to action this weekend when the Blue Bulls team play Boland Cavaliers in a SuperSport Rugby Challenge warm-up clash in Piketberg.
The two Boks return from injury lay-off, as are other Bulls regulars like Roelof Smit, Jade Stighling and Jaco Visagie. They will be joined by the likes of Dylan Sage, Paul Schoeman and Thembelani Boli, who have all seen Super Rugby action this season.
Visagie will lead the team.
Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais also opted for a number of new faces in the squad, with the likes of Dawid Kellerman, Thomas Meyer, Franco Botha, Ewan Coetzee and Cameron Hufke all making debuts in senior rugby.
♦ The experienced Marlyn Williams will again lead the Boland Cavaliers from the lock position, with the team looking to test several combination against the Pretoria-based outfit.
The home side has selected 26 players on their bench while the Bulls will field the customary 23 replacements.
Gavern Skippers, Shilton van Wyk, Andries Viljoen, Wilneth Engelbrecht, Valentino Wellman, Joshua Vermeulen, Sherwin Cupido, Patrick O’Brien, Thurlow Marsh, Kenan Cronje, Johannes Janse van Rensburg, Marlyn Williams (captain), Bomba Bakeni, Francois Esterhuizen, Arnout Malherbe. Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Theunis Nieuwoudt, Clarence van Wyk, Adriaan Ludick, Taine-Randall Booysen, Kennedy Rorwana, Ricardo Duarttee, Jaiden Baron, Monty Dumond, Rowan Ranna, Wayne Smith.
Earl Douwrie, Travis Ismaiel, Dawid Kellerman, Dylan Sage, Jade Stigling, JT Jackson, Andre Warner, Paul Schoeman, Thembolani Boli, Roelof Smit, Thomas Meyer, Aston Fortuin, Mornay Smith, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson. Replacements: Franco Botha, Nqoba Mxoli, Ewan Coetzee, Marko van Staden, Muller Uys, Lian du Toit, Fiela Boshoff, Cameron Hufke.
♦ Club matches
The provincial match will coincide with three club rugby friendlies, with Piketberg Rugby Club facing Saron RFC in the main match of the day. The other two club matches will be curtain-raisers for the provincial match, with Villagers Wittewater facing Porterville United and Citrusdal playing Coronation.
Kick-off times (Gates open 8:00) –
09:00 Villagers Wittewater vs Porterville United
11:00 Citrusdal vs Coronation
13:00 Boland Cavaliers vs Blue Bulls
15:30 Piketberg RFC vs Saro