Bulls name side for Durban

2011-07-14 00:00

THE Blue Bulls yesterday named a team containing three Springboks for Durban on Saturday evening, while Sharks coach John Plumtree was already talking up the positive impact being made by former Test centre Marius Joubert.

New Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar yesterday named former Test hooker Gary Botha as his new hooker, while two other Springboks, wing Akona Ndungane and backrower Dewald Potgieter, were also named in a team hard hit by national demands.

The Bulls are missing 14 regulars, including four locks, four front-rowers and two scrumhalves (Fourie du Preez and Francois Hougaard) for the King’s Park game.

Corné Fourie will make his debut at loosehead, while there is another Currie Cup rookie at fullback in Jurgen Visser.

Pienaar has dipped into the junior ranks in filling his bench with Francois Venter and Lohan Jacobs, who both played for the South African U20 side last month, alongside former Blue Bulls U21 captain Marnitz Boshoff.

“This is a new team and we are keen to measure ourselves against the defending champions on their home turf,” Pienaar said.

He believes Botha will lead by example.

“Gary epitomises what the Blue Bulls are all about and his experience and leadership abilities are well established. He has a big role to play in this team and I am very happy that he was keen to take the captaincy role,” Pienaar said.

“We are a proud union and a proud team,” said Botha yesterday.

“One of the critical issues for us will be to start playing as a team from the first minute of our first match and it starts on Saturday.”

In Durban Plumtree has been taken by the influence Joubert is having on his team-mates. The 93 kg former Springbok centre, who turned 32 at the weekend, joined the Sharks squad at the start of the month on a two-year contract. He has spent the last couple of seasons playing for Clermont in the French Top 14.

“We have to give him time to settle in,” said Plumtree, “but it’s been a pretty big week for him in terms of learning about the Sharks.

“But it comes naturally to him. He understands the game, he knows every move in the book and he brings a real calmness, that little bit of extra depth in terms of seniority, to the team.

“He’s prepared to bide his time, but he’ll make his mark on this group. We’re lucky to have him in this competition at this time when we have lost a number of experienced players in the squad.”

Plumtree said that he still has some experience in a backline that will also contain Stefan Terblanche, Frederic Michalak, Meyer Bosman and Louis Ludik when the team is announced today.

“We will also involve Sburu Sithole, a South African sevens player, this weekend. He looks like a good, exciting prospect and is possibly at the same stage as Lwazi Mvovo was a couple of years ago. It will be good to see what he has to offer against the Bulls.”

The game against the Sharks kicks off at 5.05 pm and Jaco Peyper will be the referee.

Bulls team: Jurgen Visser, Gerhard van den Heever, Stephan Dippenaar, Stefan Watermeyer, Akona Ndungane, Francois Brummer, Dustin Jinka, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Dewald Potgieter, Derick Kuün, Juandré Kruger, Fudge Mabeta, Rossouw de Klerk, Gary Botha (c), Corné Fourie. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Juan Schoeman, Okkie Kruger, CJ Stander, Lohan Jacobs, Marnitz Boshoff, Francois Venter.

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