Rather predictably Bulls coach Pote Human opted for experience to fill his team after he lost four backline players during the match against the Stormers last weekend. The Bulls play the Waratahs at Loftus on Saturday (15:05)
The Bulls, after the defeat following their bye, will be without Springbok centre Jessie Kriel, who has been outstanding this year, and Jade Stighling of last weekend’s starting backline, as well as replacement Divan Rossouw.
Human has a new centre pairing. He moved wing Johnny Kotze to outside centre in Kriel’s place, where he is no stranger and he will partner Burger Odendaal.
The latter also left the field against the Stormers for a blood injury and had to be replaced (by flank Thembelani Bholi!). Odendaal has recovered and will face the Waratahs.
Kotze’s place on the left wing will be taken by Blitzboks star Rosko Specman while Jade Stighling will be replaced by a former Blitzbok and Springbok win, Cornal Henricks.
Former Blitzbok Dylan Sage comes onto the bench in place of Rossouw.
The result of the moves? Oodles of pace!
Springbok Embrose Papier, for all his skill especially when the game opens up, made a number of unforced errors when he replaced Ivan van Zyl behind the scrum after 54 minutes.
He loses his place on the bench to André Warner, a steady and dependable scrumhalf who is no newcomer as partner to Handré Pollard.
The pack that faced the Stormers and out-scrummed their Springbok front rowers before and after substitutions has been kept intact.
♦ The coach said the changes should not impact on the team's performance.
“Both Rosko and Cornal played for us in more than half of our matches and are keen to get another run. I have no doubt we will see a good performance from both. Johnny has played outside centre for us before and will slot in with ease," Human explained.
"We have a clear vision of what we want to achieve from this game," he said.
"The Waratahs have a number of strike runners in their side and if they are allowed to prosper, you are in trouble. We will have to execute our plays and plans ruthlessly if we want to keep on the right side of the log," Human said.
♦ Bulls captain, Handré Pollard, said they are pleased to be back at Loftus Versfeld. "We have been a tad inconsistent at home, to be honest we need to deliver a performance that we and the Loftus faithful will be happy with."
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 André Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dylan Sage.