Chris Smith will earn his first start at flyhalf when the Bulls host the Pumas in their final Super Rugby Unlocked match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
This match marks the first meeting between the teams at Unlocked level with the Bulls determined to maintain their winning streak as they secured victories in their previous three matches including a come from behind win against the Lions a fortnight ago.
The Bulls have been impressive on attack since the restart of rugby in South Africa, registering 17 tries while only conceding seven.
The inclusion of Smith means the incumbent Morné Steyn gets a well-deserved break with Clinton Swart providing cover off the bench. The rest of the backline remains unchanged.
Among the forwards, Springbok flank Arno Botha will wear the number seven jumper with Elrigh Louw dropping out of the match day squad.
Corniel Els starts at hooker with Joe van Zyl on the bench in a direct swap as incumbent Johan Grobbelaar still nursing an injury.
“Due to the Covid pandemic effecting proceedings and the match between the Stormers and Sharks being cancelled, we find ourselves in a more fortunate position than expected,” said Bulls director of rugby, Jake White.
“Even though this is not an ideal situation for the tournament and the teams, we all understand that the safety and well-being of all involved comes first.
“We as a team want to ensure that if we are to be named champions then we want to do it the right way, with a win against a good Pumas team,” he added.
Kick-off is 2pm Saturday, pending the outcome of Covid testing results in the Pumas camp, which should be available on Friday morning.
Bulls: David Kriel, Travis Ismaiel, Stedman Gans, Cornal Hendricks, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Chris Smith, Ivan van Zyl, Duane Vermeulen (capt), Arno Botha, Marco van Staden, Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Trevor Nyakane, Corniel Els, Jacques van Rooyen. Bench: Joe van Zyl, Gerhard Steenekamp, Marcel van der Merwe, Sintu Manjezi, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Clinton Swart, Marco Jansen van Vuren.