Cape Town – The Bulls have named a strong starting line-up for their Super Rugby season opener against the Sharks at Kings Park on Friday.
The team welcomes back flyhalf Morné Steyn who last played for the Pretoria outfit in 2013 and is the only three time Super Rugby champion that remains within the South African circuit.
Steyn is joined by two 2019 Rugby World Cup winners in fullback Warrick Gelant and prop Trevor Nyakane.
They are joined by No 8 Josh Strauss, flank Jeandré Rudolph, lock Andries Ferreira and replacement loose forward Wian Vosloo who will be running out for their first cap for the Bulls while replacement lock Ryno Pieterse will make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.
The rest of the team includes four Springboks in scrumhalves Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier with Cornal Hendricks to flex his speed on the wing, with lock Juandré Kruger adding some grunt to the engine room
Bulls head coach, Pote Human, has also opted to select the same 5/2 split between the forwards and backs on the bench as the Springboks did during their successful Rugby World Cup campaign last season.
“We have enjoyed a strong preseason with few injuries which has allowed us to select our strongest available team to take on a well-oiled Sharks outfit,” said Human.
History favours the visitors with the Bulls securing eight wins and a draw in their last nine matches against the Durban team.
“We have a job to do in Durban and we are not taking it lightly. The Sharks have proved time and time again that they are a dangerous team if underestimated. We are going into the match with level heads and a battle plan in hand.”
Kick-off is 19:10.
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Jeandré Rudolph, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Ryno Pieterse, 21 Wian Vosloo, 22 Embrose Papier, 23 Manie Libbok