Springbok duo add muscle to Bulls' pack for clash with Sharks
Bulls coach Jake White has drafted the Springbok duo of Arno Botha and Trevor Nyakane into his match-day team to face the Sharks in their Rainbow Cup SA encounter at Loftus on Saturday.
The inclusion of Botha and Nyakane at blindside flank and replacement prop sets up the tantalising prospect of a full throttle battle of the forwards in this match between the unbeaten teams.
Springbok flanker Marco van Staden got the nod for his exceptional performance against Stormers where his 22 tackles disrupted the opposition’s proceedings to such an extent that their attack was stifled on several occasions.
The only other change in the match-day squad sees flank Elrigh Louw shifting to the bench.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt has made only one change in his starting line-up with Jaden Hendrikse returning to the side.
Hendrikse returns to the side in the place of Grant Williams at scrumhalf while Sanele Nohamba will play from the bench as Everitt continues to build momentum and continuity.
A good game of attacking rugby is expected from top of the table Sharks and second-placed Bulls who have recorded titanic wins over each other in the past and home coach White is not expecting this match to be different.
“We’ve had a few epic battles thus far and the Sharks will be keen to get one over us at Loftus as it is something they’ve yet to do‚” said White‚ adding that he is also expecting an evenly-contested forward battle.
“The forward tussle is going to set the tone while both backlines are brimming with relentless talent so it should make for an exciting but hard encounter‚” White added.
The Bulls go into this match on an eight-match winning streak and having last lost at the hands of the Sharks in Durban.
Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch said they are looking forward to a tough battle at Loftus.
“I think it will be a good one between two unbeaten sides in the competition and the guys are excited for the challenge. I’m sure the Bulls players are too‚” said Bosch‚ who is also the top points-scorer in the competition with 22 points‚ including two penalty goals and eight conversions.
Bulls: 15. David Kriel‚ 14. Madosh Tambwe‚ 13. Marco Janse van Vuren‚ 12. Cornal Hendricks‚ 11. Stravino Jacobs‚ 10. Morné Steyn‚ 9. Embrose Papier‚ 8. Duane Vermeulen‚ 7. Arno Botha‚ 6. Marco van Staden‚ 5. Ruan Nortje‚ 4. Walt Steenkamp‚ 3. Mornay Smith‚ 2. Johan Grobbelaar‚ 1. Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16. Schalk Erasmus‚ 17. Lizo Gqoboka‚ 18. Trevor Nyakane‚ 19. Janko Swanepoel‚ 20. Elrigh Louw‚ 21. Zak Burger‚ 22. Chris Smith‚ 23. James Verity-Amm‚ 24. Jacques van Rooyen‚ 25. Reinhardt Ludwig‚ 26. Nizaam Carr‚ 27. Keagan Johannes
Sharks: 1. Ox Nche‚ 2. Fez Mbatha‚ 3. Thomas du Toit‚ 4. Ruben van Heerden‚ 5. Reniel Hugo‚ 6. Siya Kolisi‚ 7. Henco Venter‚ 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 9. Jaden Hendrikse‚ 10. Curwin Bosch‚ 11. Yaw Penxe‚ 12. Jeremy Ward‚ 13. Lukhanyo Am (C)‚ 14. Sbu Nkosi‚ 15. Aphelele Fassi
Replacements: 16. Kerron van Vuuren‚ 17. Ntuthuko Mchunu‚ 18. Wiehahn Herbst‚ 19. Le Roux Roets‚ 20. Phepsi Buthelezi‚ 21. Sanele Nohamba‚ 22. Manie Libbok‚ 23. Werner Kok