Both Frans Ludeke and Naka Drotske have picked their strongest available lineups for this weekend’s friendly between the Bulls and the Cheetahs in Polokwane.
Springbok team-mates Pierre Spies and Adriaan Strauss will lead their respective sides in this last dress rehearsal ahead of Super Rugby proper; and both lineups show a significant number of changes to the teams that recently took on the Lions and Stormers. Last weekend, it seems, was about assessing depth. This time around, it’s about getting the first-choice combinations battle hardened ahead of the season opener.
Only fullback Jurgen Visser survives form the Bulls starting lineup that won in Orlando, with Francois Venter a surprising pick at inside centre ahead of the more-experienced Wynand Olivier. The rest of the side is about as expected, with Morne Mellett set to face a baptism of fire as the first-choice loosehead prop whilst Dean Greyling is out injured,
The Cheetahs are still without Johan Goosen, but apart from the inclusion of Elgar Watts at pivot in his place, line up much as they’re expected to against the Sharks in week 1. Juan Smith is again included on the bench, after being out of the game for almost two years.
15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Mornè Mellett
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Ulrich Beyers, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Wynand Olivier
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain) 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Ligtoring Landman, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Hennie Daniller, 23 Hansie GraaffTweet