The Vodacom Bulls have named their 26-man squad for their 4-week tour of the Antipodes. The Pretoria team will face the Reds, Chiefs, Blues and Western Force on successive weekends.
In the front row, loosehead prop Jaco Engles pays the price for his cowardly punch last weekend and is left out. Engels copped a 3-week ban, so wouldn’t be available for selection until the third week of the tour anyway. Young Dean Greyling takes his place in the tour party, joining Gurthro Steenkamp, Rayno Gerber and retreaded loose forward Werner Kruger. Derick Kuün and James van der Walt are the only hooking options available to the team, underlining how devastating the continue unavailability of Chilliboy Rallepele is proving to be.
In the second row, Bakkies Botha and Wilhelm Steenkamp are the only specialist locks, although Danie Rossouw, Hilton Lobberts and Pedrie Wannenburg could all fill in here if necessary. Deon Stegmann, Wikus van Heerden and Dewald Potgieter make up the remainder of the loose forward contingent.
Squad captain Fourie du Preez has two understudies at scrumhalf in the former Western Cape pair of Heini Adams and Francois Hougaard. Namesake Derick is picked at fyhalf, together with Morné Steyn, who can also play inside centre. Youngster Stephen Dippenaar will also tour, alongside the established midfield combination of Wynand Olivier and JP Nel.
World Cup wingers Bryan Habana and Akona Ndungane will, somewhat bizarrely, be joined by the unimpressive Danwel Demas, while Currie Cup stalwart John Mametsa stays at home. Impressive off-season buy Zane Kirchner will wear the number 15 jersey throughout the tour.
Here is the full squad:
Props: Gurthro Steenkamp, Rayno Gerber, Werner Kruger, Mac Guyver Dean Greyling
Hookers: Derick Kuün, James van der Walt
Locks: Bakkies Botha, Wilhelm Steenkamp
Loose forwards: Deon Stegmann, Wikus van Heerden, Dewald Potgieter, Pedrie Wannenburg
Utility forwards: Danie Rossouw, Hilton Lobberts
Scrumhalves: Fourie du Preez (capt), Heini Adams, Francois Hougaard
Flyhalves: Derick Hougaard, Morné Steyn
Centres: Wynand Olivier, JP Nel, Stephen Dippenaar
Wings: Bryan Habana, Akona Ndungane, Danwel Demas
Fullback: Zane Kirchner