The Vodacom Bulls will go into their Vodacom United Rugby Championship season-opening match against the Emirates Lions with a strong match-day squad which includes three debutants in the starting XV.
New No8, Mihlali Mosi, the only new face in the forwards pack, will make his Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom URC debut when he scrums down alongside captain Marcell Coetzee and Ruan Vermaak to complete the starting loose trio.
Springbok winger, S’bu Nkosi, and fullback, Wandisile Simelane, will also don the Vodacom Bulls’ blue jumper for the first time.
Off the bench, Marco van Staden will make his much-anticipated return for the Vodacom Bulls, making his first appearance in the Vodacom URC alongside tighthead prop cover, Francois Klopper.
All the hard work the Vodacom Bulls have put in over their six-week pre-season period will be put to the test against a strong and determined Emirates Lions side in their own back yard.
“We have had a great six weeks of pre-season training where we have worked on areas we felt we needed to improve on from last season. This has also been a great opportunity for our new recruits to acclimatise in their new environment,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White.
“A lot of hard work went into the past few weeks, and we are pleased with where we are ahead of the start of the season. We now have a tough encounter against a strong Emirates Lions team that will want to begin their season campaign on a positive note. Even though we expect a slow start, given that it is the first game of the season, we are looking forward to the lads giving their all to set the tone for the rest of the season.”
The Vodacom Bulls team to face the Emirates Lions on Saturday is:
STARTERS (15-1): Wandisile Simelane (Betway Centurion), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), David Kriel (Tuine), S’bu Nkosi (Harlequin), Chris Smith (Harlequins), Embrose Papier (UP Tuks); Mihlali Mosi (Pretoria), Ruan Vermaak (Harlequins), Marcell Coetzee (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Betway Centurion), Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).
IMPACT (16-23): Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Pretoria), Dylan Smith (Tuine), Francois Klopper (UP Tuks), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), Marco van Staden (ABE Midas Naka Bulle); Zak Burger (Tuine), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Stedman Gans (Northam Rhinos).
Photo credit: Johan Rynners/Vodacom Bulls
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]