Bulls coach Jake White wary of Sharks on the rebound

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Bulls winger Cornal Hendricks has returned to the starting line-up for the URC clash against the Sharks.
Bulls winger Cornal Hendricks has returned to the starting line-up for the URC clash against the Sharks.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bulls coach Jake White has named David Kriel and Cornal Hendricks in the starting line-up for the United Rugby Championship (URC) clash against the Sharks on Saturday at Loftus.

Kriel, who missed last week’s win over the Lions, takes over from Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback while Hendricks has been inserted at right-wing to replace Canan Moodie.

Elsewhere, Gerhard Steenekamp will be the only new face in the forwards pack that started against the Lions last week as he swaps with Simphiwe Matanzima, who has moved to the bench, in a rotational switch.

After two successive wins over the Lions, the Bulls have found some momentum but White is wary of the threat that is posed by the Springbok-laden Sharks on a rebound.

Last week, the Sharks were stunned by the Stormers and they will be desperate to get back to winning ways and move a few places up on the standings as the tournament approaches the business end.

“The Sharks are always formidable opponents, and we will have to be at our best when we face a side that is so full of talent,” said White.

“For us to face a team with the SA Rugby Player of the Year, Siya Kolisi, is a challenge we should look forward to. Furthermore, it is also an inspiration to be able to play a domestic derby against the captain of the national team who also collects all of these accolades for his performance on and off the field.

“It certainly is inspiring that we have players of his calibre who choose to remain and play for domestic franchises when he could easily take up a contract elsewhere.

“This will be a great opportunity for youngsters like Elrigh Louw to be able to go up against an inspirational character like Siya. Then you also have players like Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Bongi Mbonambi and a host of others in that Sharks team, who our guys will want to measure themselves against in a premier competition like the United Rugby Championship. We can look forward to a thrilling game at Loftus.”

For the visitors, coach Sean Everitt has made three changes to the team that lost to the Stormers with Gerbrandt Grobler starting in the second row and hard-working fellow lock Ruben van Heerden playing off the bench.

In the other change to the pack, the vastly experienced Henco Venter comes in for the impressive youngster Jeandre Labuschagne at flank.

After impressive performances in the Currie Cup, Marius Louw has been called up to the URC side where he slots in at centre and captain Lukhanyo Am goes back to outside centre to replace Jeremy Ward.

More commanding performances at Currie Cup level have been just reward for loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe and flyhalf Curwin Bosch.

The Springbok duo, who returned from injury to play important roles in last week’s 35-20 victory over Western Province, have been selected on the bench.


Bulls: David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Madosh Tambwe, Morne Steyn, Zak Burger, Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Jacques van Rooyen, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Robert Hunt, Janko Swanepoel, Muller Uys, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Canan Moodie.

Sharks: Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Gerbrandt Grobler, Hyron Andrews, Siya Kolisi, Henco Venter, Phepsi Buthelezi, Jaden Hendrikse, Tito Bonilla, Makazole Mapimpi, Marius Louw, Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi, Aphelele Fassi. Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Khutha Mchunu, Ruben van Heerden, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Curwin Bosch, Werner Kok.

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