Bulls coach Nollis Marais gave first starts to Tian Schoeman, Jason Jenkins and Lizo Gqoboka in his run-on team for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves in Singapore. They all played off the bench in last weekend’s draw against the Sharks, and along with Jesse Kriel returning, will replace Jan Serfontein, Francois Brummer, Grant Hattingh and Trevor Nyakane respectively. Hattingh is injured and did not travel to the East, with the other three moves to the bench. Nicolaas Janse Van Rensburg will be the back-up lock for this clash.
Marais also named Pierre Schoeman (in for Hencus Van Wyk) on the bench. Maku will make his first appearance this year if he takes to the field, while Schoeman will make his Super Rugby debut if he comes onto the field. Marais says: ‘We had a good session here in Singapore and I wanted to refresh our effort this week. The guys coming off the bench will be fresher than those who played against the Sharks and we are going to need a fast start. We have seen them play, but the Sunwolves will still be an unknown factor to us. They will be dangerous and we need to be sharp.’
Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss says the team is excited to be in Singapore and play here for the first time: ‘Our focus is to deliver 80 minutes of quality rugby on the field. We have not played here before, so will have to adapt to the conditions and the opponents, so need to be at our best. We are keen to deliver a performance that we and our supporters can be proud of.’
The team (with Super Rugby caps) is: Warrick Gelant (3), Jamba Ulengo (1), Jesse Kriel (19), Burger Odendaal (13), Bjorn Basson (89), Tian Schoeman (10), Rudy Paige (24), Arno Botha (36), Jannes Kirsten (3), Roelof Smit (6), RG Snyman (3), Jason Jenkins (3), Marcel Van Der Merwe (26), Adriaan Strauss (121), Lizo Gqoboka (3).
Replacements: Bandise Maku (51), Trevor Nyakane (61), Pierre Schoeman (0), Nicolaas Janse Van Rensburg (3), Nic De Jager (3), Piet Van Zyl (57), Francois Brummer (8), Jan Serfontein (39).
Photo credit: Nick Lourens