New Vodacom Bulls recruits Lappies Labuschagne and Trevor Nyakane will face their former Cheetahs teammates in Polokwane on Saturday when the two Super Rugby sides clash in a friendly match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium at 17:00. Flanker Labuschagne and Nyakane, who was selected at loosehead prop, moved north at the start of the season and will be part of the first hit-out of the season for the Pretoria side. Nyakane will be part of an international front row, with former Springboks Werner Kruger and Bandise Maku also in the starting team. Springboks JJ Engelbrecht and Deon Stegmann are starting at centre and flank respectively, but Arno Botha and Piet Van Zyl will play off the bench.
It will be a first appearance for Botha after he ruptured knee ligaments at the same venue a year ago. Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is resting incumbent Springboks like Jan Serfontein and Victor Matfield, but still picked a very capable side packed with former Junior Springboks. Adriaan Strauss and Handrè Pollard is still recovering from light niggles and will only join the squad next week.
“We are all keen to get the season underway. It is a long season, but I am keen to give everyone a chance to play before we start our campaign. We will be looking to give more players a run when we play Saracens in London in two weeks. As for now, we will be using the match to measure our progress and to give guys like Lappies and Trevor a chance to settle into the new environment and team culture,” Ludeke said.
The Bulls team is: Jesse Kriel, Travis Ismaiel, JJ Engelbrecht, William Small-Smith, Jamba Ulengo, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Rudy Paige, Hanro Liebenberg, Lappies Labuschagne,Deon Stegmann (Captain), Marvin Orie, Jacques Du Plessis, Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements (from): Callie Visagie, Mornè Mellett, Dayan Van Der Westhuizen, Nicolaas Janse Van Rensburg, Grant Hattingh, Roelof Smit, Nardus Van Der Walt, Arno Botha, Piet Van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Dan Kriel, Ulrich Beyers, Duncan Matthews, Jurgen Visser.