Odendaal to captain the Bulls in must-win Super Rugby clash against the Blues

Pote Human during the Vodacom Blue Bulls training and press conference at Loftus Versfeld on October 11, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Pote Human during the Vodacom Blue Bulls training and press conference at Loftus Versfeld on October 11, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

Bulls coach Pote Human has named midfielder Burger Odendaal as captain for their must-win Super Rugby clash against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

Odendaal‚ who has been handed the leadership role in the continued absence of Handré Pollard and Duane Vermeulen‚ said after Human named the squad on Wednesday that they are underdogs.

“We are the underdogs‚ there is no doubt about that‚” said Odendaal from their base in Auckland as they prepared to start their New Zealand leg of the Australasian tour on a positive note.

“That is good for us as we can only concentrate on our own game and what we want to achieve.

"There will have to be a clinical performance from us and if not it is going to be a long evening‚” he said.

After he named the squad‚ Human said they would need start well against an impressive Blues side who have won eleven of their twelve home games against the Bulls at home.

“We need to get a good start and sustain that throughout the match.

"They have some quality players‚ but the real test will be in the set-pieces.

"The Blues have the best scrum success rate (97%) in the competition‚ so that will be a critical area for us‚” said Human.

In some of the changes to the squad‚ Human named Ivan van Zyl at scrumhalf and flanker Marco van Staden in his starting team as they look to return back to winnings ways after last week’s deflating loss to the Brumbies in Australia.

Van Zyl takes over from Andre Warner and Van Staden comes in at flank for Paul Schoeman who has been moved to number eight to replace Vermeulen.

Vermeulen has returned to South Africa as part of the agreement with Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus to rest some of the players who are in the frame to go to the World Cup later in the year.

Bulls Team: 15. Warrick Gelant; 14. Cornal Hendricks; 13. Johnny Kotze; 12. Burger Odendaal; 11. Rosko Spekman; 10. Manie Libbok; 9. Ivan van Zyl; 8. Paul Schoeman; 7. Hanro Liebenberg; 6. Marco van Staden; 5. RG Snyman; 4. Jason Jenkins; 3. Trevor Nyakane; 2. Schalk Brits; 1. Lizo Gqoboka

Replacements: 16. Jaco Visagie; 17. Simphiwe Matanzima; 18. Wiehahn Herbst; 19. Jannes Kirsten; 20. Ruan Steenkamp; 21. Andre Warner; 22. JT Jackson; 23. Divan Rossouw

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