With the first choice players in Treviso, Italy, preparing for the Rainbow Cup final, the Bulls will push a young side into action in their Currie Cup opener against Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Tuks Varsity Cup captain and midfielder Sango Xamlashe will lead the side.
The team includes rising prop powerhouse Simphiwe “Beast” Matanzima, who missed out on several months of action because of injury, but he will be hoping to pick up where he left off.
He will be accompanied by Francois Klopper in the front row, with Werner Fourie between them. They will be backed in the scrum by JJ Scheepers and Tiaan de Klerk, with loosies Henco Beukes, Jaco Labuschagne and Jaco Bezuidenhout rounding out the forwards.
And while David Kriel will be turning out for the Bulls “first team” in Italy, brother Richard will wear the No 15 on his back at Loftus.
Out wide Sebastiaan Jobb and Kefentse Mahlo will play on the wings and joining Xamlashe in the centres will be Louritz van der Schyff in the number 12 jersey.
The halfback pairing of flyhalf Jandre Burger, younger brother of Zac Burger, who’s also in Italy, and Johan Mulder at scrumhalf will be aiming to provide the perfect attack platform for the backline.
“This is a talented group, even in the absence of a ton of senior and contracted players due to Rainbow Cup, Bok duty, National Under 20 call ups and also a few untimely injuries. I am truly excited to see these boys step up and use this opportunity to stake a claim,” said Pienaar.
44 players unavailable
No less than 44 players cannot be considered for Saturday’s clash against Western Province: 28 have traveled to Italy, four are with the Springboks, four are out due to injuries, two are on duty with the Blitzboks and six have been called up to the Junior Boks.
Saturday’s game will be recorded as the largest number of debutants in a single professional game for the men in blue, with only two of the matchday 23 having seen Currie Cup action before, that being Matanzima and Mahlo.
Kickoff is 4pm.
Bulls: Richard Kriel, Sebastiaan Jobb, Sango Xamlashe (capt), Louritz van der Schyff, Kefentse Mahlo, Jandre Burger, Johan Mulder, Jaco Bezuidenhout, Jaco Labuschagne, Henco Beukes, Tiaan de Klerk, JJ Scheepers, Francois Klopper, Werner Fourie, Simphiwe Matanzima. Bench: Llewelyn Classen, Dewald Donald, Mhleli Dlamini, Adolph Visser, Eduan Lubbe, Tiaan Fourie, Kabelo Mokoena, Niel Beukes, Uzile Tele