Blue Bulls prop Werner Kruger will on Saturday become the first player at the union to play 100 matches for both the Bulls (Super Rugby) and Blue Bulls (Absa Currie Cup). Kruger played his 100th match for the Bulls in April 2014 and will become an Absa Currie Cup centurion for the Blue Bulls when the side take on Western Province this weekend. Kruger made his Blue Bulls debut in 2007 as a replacement against the Golden Lions and has since been one of the most consistent performers the Loftus Versfeld faithful have seen.
Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Kruger in the side that show three changes to the one that beat Griquas a week ago. William Small-Smith and Deon Stegmann have been ruled out due to injury and will be replaced by Dries Swanepoel and Roelof Smit respectively. Marais also decided to start with Bandise Maku at hooker, with Jaco Visagie swopping roles with the former Springbok and will start on the bench.
Dan Kriel will move onto the bench in place of Swanepoel. Marais says: ‘Werner has been a true Blue Bulls stalwart and deserves this unique honour. He has a wonderful attitude towards life and towards this team and we are privileged to share such an occasion with Werner. That said, the ball is now in our court to make sure we make it a memorable occasion for him. To do that, we need to be accurate and aggressive in the way we approach Western Province. We are slowly finding our feet as a squad, but we may lack in rhythm and momentum, we must back up with courage and guts.’
Blue Bulls captain Lappies Labuschagne confirmed that determination: ‘We have now played together and the cobwebs are gone. We can now focus on our execution, precision and desire to win the Currie Cup and to give our supporters something to be proud of. This starts this weekend against WP.’
As part of the Woman’s month celebrations that have been sweeping the country, the Blue Bulls are using the opportunity on Saturday to also pay tribute to the ladies. With this in mind, they’re running a ‘50% OFF’ tickets special for the game.
The team to play WP is: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel**, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman, Francois Hougaard, Hanro Liebenberg, Roelof Smit, Lappies Labuschagne (c), Marvin Orie, Jacques du Plessis, Werner Kruger***, Bandise Maku, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Dayan van der Westhuizen, RG Snyman, Jannes Kirsten*, Ivan van Zyl, Louis Fouché, Dan Kriel*.
*On debut for Blue Bulls
**Run-on debut for Blue Bulls
*** Hundred Currie Cup matches for Blue Bulls