Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais drafted in Jason Jenkins to replace injured Lood de Jager and swopped around Lizo Gqoboka and Pierre Schoeman in the Vodacom Bulls team that will take on the Toyota Cheetahs in the second round of the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
These are the only two changes to the starting side that dropped the result against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town last weekend.
Lood de Jager’s unavailability due to concussion will see Jason Jenkins combining with RG Snyman at lock. The duo will have little difficulty in partnering up. They played together in seven matches in last year’s tournament and both scored tries when they last faced the Toyota Cheetahs in a 23-18 win at Loftus Versfeld.
Renaldo Bothma will fill the vacancy on the bench left by the promotion of Jenkins.
In an early rotational switch by Marais, Pierre Schoeman and Lizo Gqoboka swop around, with the Springbok tourist from last year starting and Schoeman, a try-scorer against the Stormers, coming off the bench.
Marais pulled no punches about the opening weekend in Cape Town.
“We were outplayed by a better team on the day. It was a very good reality check and lessons were learned. We need to show that we can learn from mistakes and improve on them,” Marais said.
“The Cheetahs will be hurting afterthat close loss to the Lions last weekend and will be motivated in what happened in our last match in Bloemfontein. I have no doubt that this group of Bulls players are good enough to be real contenders, but that belief will be tested by a side that refuses to give up or accept defeat. We have another massive challenge ahead of us, but I can honestly say that everyone in the squad is looking forward to this.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Handré Pollard, scored 29 points against the Toyota Cheetahs the last time he faced them in Bloemfontein but is adamant that everyone is on a clean slate this time around.
“What you achieved in the past means nothing if you don’t deliver your A-game every time, something myself and the team realised again last weekend in Cape Town. We need to produce come Saturday, with a performance that will do justice to the hard work done, but also to justify the support of our fans and the backing from our coaches. In short, we need to show that we are serious to win this competition,” Pollard insisted.
The team (with Super Rugby caps and points) is: Jesse Kriel (32, 10), Travis Ismaiel (18, 30), Burger Odendaal (19, 10), Dries Swanepoel (8, 10), Jamba Ulengo (11, 25), Handré Pollard (c; 26, 245), Rudy Paige (35, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (9, 15), Jacques Potgieter (57, 35), Nick de Jager (6, 5), RG Snyman (13, 10), JasonJenkins (14, 5), Trevor Nyakane (71, 15), Jaco Visagie (9, 0), Lizo Gqoboka(12, 0). Replacment bench: Edgar Marutlulle (25, 20), Pierre Schoeman (10, 0), Jacobie Adriaanse (27, 0), Renaldo Bothma (18, 20), Ruan Steenkamp (1, 0), Piet van Zyl (69, 60), TianSchoeman (23, 75), Warrick Gelant (5, 5).