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THE Border Bulldogs are relishing the opportunity to take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls in a compulsory friendly rugby match at the Border Rugby Union Stadium in East London today.
The Bulldogs will be competing in the Absa Currie Cup First Division competition this year, and the team coached by David Maidza are looking forward to testing their skills against a side that includes many players who were part of the successful team that claimed their second Super 14 trophy last month.
The Pretoria side, though, will be without many of their stars such as Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Danie Rossouw and Wynand Olivier, who are all on Springbok duty.
The Bulls will still field a very strong side with players such as Derick Kuun, Gerhard van den Heever, Marius Delport, Jaco Pretorius, Francois Hougaard, Heini Adams, Jacques Burger, Wilhelm Steenkamp and Jaco Engels, who all starred in the Super 14.
Francois Brummer, who was one of the outstanding performers for the South African Under-20 team at the IRB Junior World Championship, will start at flyhalf.
"It will be a good test for our team to play against the current Super 14 champions. We are excited and really looking forward to the challenge," Maidza said.
"We've played against a Sharks Under-21 side last week and now we are up against the Bulls, which will be our last game before the start of the First Division season.
"It is going to be interesting to see how our boys compete on Wednesday. We have added some new players to our squad, such as Gareth Krause and Bruce Cumming, for the season.
"So, we'll look at the good and the bad of both games and hopefully be ready for our first game on July 11 against the Mighty Elephants."
Kickoff is at 7.05pm.
The teams are:
Border Bulldogs - Reinhard Gerber (captain), Sabelo Kolanisi, Thembani Mkokeli, Jeffrey Taljaard, Loloyanga Waka, Clifford Hodgson, Josh Fowles, Gareth Krause, Dumisani Meslane, Bernard le Roux, Samora Fihlani, Andries Kruger, Marius Visser, Matthew Taljard and Buhle Mxunyelwa.
Blue Bulls - Tiger Mangweni, Gerhard van den Heever, Marius Delport, Jaco Pretorius, Francois Hougaard, Francois Brummer, Heini Adams, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Jacques Burger, Dries van Schalkwyk, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Flip van der Merwe, Rossouw de Klerk, Derick Kuun (captain) and Jaco Engels. - Sapa