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Tim Agaba gets first Super Rugby start in Bulls' clash vs the Crusaders

Tim Agaba of the Blitzboks during day 1 of the 2017 HSBC Cape Town Sevens match between South Africa and Russia at Cape Town Stadium on December 09, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Tim Agaba of the Blitzboks during day 1 of the 2017 HSBC Cape Town Sevens match between South Africa and Russia at Cape Town Stadium on December 09, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Sprinboks Sevens star Tim Agaba has been handed his first Super Rugby start by coach Bulls John Mitchell for their daunting away clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.

Agaba‚ who won bronze at the Olympic Games and gold in the World Rugby Sevens Series with the Springbok Sevens team‚ will start at No 8 in one of three changes that have been made by Mitchell as they look to upset the tournament defending champions.

While Agaba will make his first start‚ Springboks midfielder Jesse Kriel will register his half century of matches in the competition for the Bulls since he made his debut in 2014 against the Melbourne Rebels.

In the other changes by Mitchell‚ Embrose Papier is in the starting line-up to replace injured Andre Warner and Jason Jenkins comes in for RG Snyman at lock.

On the bench‚ Mitchell has included two new faces in the form of Ivan van Zyl and Hendre Stassen and he has recalled Frans van Wyk as the replacement tighthead.

Van Zyl moved into the spot vacated by Papier.

Stassen‚ who is also on debut‚ will take over from Jenkins as back-up lock while Van Wyk replaces the suspended Conraad van Vuuren.

Faced with the difficult task of taking on the defending champions on their own turf‚ Mitchell has asked his charges to be at their very best for the duration of their last match of the overseas tour where they have already lost to the Reds and the Chiefs.

“To beat the Crusaders‚ you need to outwork them.

"That will not be easy‚ as they have a tremendous work ethic as a team‚” Mitchell said from Christchurch on Wednesday morning.

“We are not on this journey to become a better team because it is easy‚ so we must be prepared to play for all 80 minutes and play every big moment to the best of our ability.”

Bulls captain Burger Odendaal said their desire to win and their attitude is going to be key to get the better of the Crusaders at a venue where they have not been successful in the past.

“We need the right attitude as that will drive our efforts.

"We have a saying that winning together is better than winning alone. This will require a massive team effort‚ but we can do it‚” Odendaal said.

Bulls Squad:

15. Warrick Gelant‚ 14. Travis Ismaiel‚ 13. Jesse Kriel‚ 12. Burger Odendaal (c)‚ 11. Divan Rossouw‚ 10. Handre Pollard‚ 9. Embrose Papier‚ 8. Tim Agaba‚ 7. Hanro Liebenberg‚ 6. Roelof Smit 5. Lood de Jager‚ 4. Jason Jenkins‚ 3. Trevor Nyakane‚ 2. Jaco Visagie 1. Pierre Schoeman

Replacements:

Adriaan Strauss‚ Lizo Gqoboka‚ Frans van Wyk‚ Hendre Stassen‚ Marco van Staden‚ Ivan van Zyl‚ Manie Libbok‚ Johnny Kotze. 

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