Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Jacques Du Plessis at lock for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup semi-final match against Western Province at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Du Plessis was a late withdrawal to the team that out-edged Pumas 25-24 in Nelspruit last weekend, but is ready to take his regular number four spot in the team. RG Snyman, who replaced Du Plessis for the Pumas match, moves back to the bench for his regular role as impact player, but his replacement in Nelspruit, Jason Jenkins, retains his spot on the bench.
Jenkins will take over from Ruan Steenkamp as the fourth loose forward as Marais opted for more bulk and size coming from the bench. Marais says: ‘This is what we trained for, to put ourselves in a position where we can win the Currie Cup. A semi-final is a difficult match. You play to win and survive, but it does not mean a trophy yet. You have to go and do it all over again a week later. But, if you lose, your season is over. We are determined not for that to happen to us.’ Blue Bulls captain, LappiesLabuschagne, feels that the Blue Bulls proved they are good enough to win this match: ‘We have won one match each in our clashes this year, but I believe we got enough out of those matches to feel that we can win. They are a very dangerous side and have some of the best runners in the country in their team. That said, we also carry some big guns in our team and that is why we are able to host this match in front of our fans. We will leave nothing out there, that is a guarantee.’
The team is: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman, Francois Hougaard, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne (c), Deon Stegmann, Marvin Orie, Jacques Du Plessis, Marcel Van Der Merwe, Bandise Maku, Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: Corniel Els, Werner Kruger, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Ivan Van Zyl, Louis Fouché, William Small-Smith.