The Blue Bulls’ Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has been named on the bench for Friday night’s Currie Cup clash against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.
Rugby 365 reports that Ralepelle made his Currie Cup debut for the Blue Bulls against the Falcons on Friday after Derick Kuün withdrew minutes before kick-off – with coach Frans Ludeke being mightily impressed with the way he played in the latter parts of the second half.
Bandise Maku, who started against the Falcons in the No.2 jersey, will again be in the middle of the scrum where he will have the privilege of scrumming alongside the experienced Springbok prop Gurthrö Steenkamp.
The coach however admitted it was difficult to leave Engels out, having played superbly thus far in the Currie Cup
“Gurthrö adds a lot of value to our team and his experience is very important to us,” said Ludeke.
“He is the type of player that gets the things going and he arrived here in a very positive frame of mind. He is eager to fight his way back into the Springbok team and he is looking forward to the game against the Lions,” Ludeke added.
With Steenkamp back in the mix, Ludeke moved Jaco Engels to the bench where he will be one of five forwards who can be used as impact players in the second half.
Ludeke said at the weekly press conference at Loftus on Tuesday that he opted for a five-two bench as he is expecting a physical onslaught from the Lions’ pack.
Rayno Gerber, Francois van Schouwenburg and Jacques Buger will be the other forwards at the side of Engels and Ralepelle on the reserve bench.
Akona Ndungane recovered from his flu and will again wear the No.14 jersey, while JP Joubert will start at scrumhalf with young Francois Hougaard on the bench.
Blue Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Marius Delport, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 John Mametsa, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Wikus van Heerden (captain), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Francois van Schouwenburg, 19 Jaco Engels, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Jacques Burger.
Date: Friday, August 8
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Touch judges: Jaco Peyper, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Johann Meuwesen
Assessor: Theuns Naude