Pretoria - Boom Prinsloo will not only make his Currie Cup debut for the Blue Bulls on Saturday, but will also wear the captain’s armband when the team takes on Griquas.
The clash in Kimberley is the first of the 2017 Currie Cup season for both teams, with Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais naming a side full of Super Rugby, but low on Currie Cup experience to make the trip south.
Prinsloo leads the Blue Bulls in the absence of injured skipper Ruan Steenkamp.
The entire starting XV boasts Super Rugby experience and only three players did not feature in the final match of that tournament for the Bulls against the Stormers last weekend.
Franco Naude and Tony Jantjies are the only backs who have not played Currie Cup rugby before, with locks Abongile Nonkontwana and Ruben van Heerden also starting in this competition the first time.
Like Prinsloo, Conrad van Vuuren played for the Free State Cheetahs in the competition before they moving to Pretoria.
Marais said they have high expectations this season, after making the final in 2016.
“We are in a bit of a transition with regards to our approach going into the future, but the players know each other well, so communication should not be a problem for us,” he said.
“We have a tough opponent waiting for us in Kimberley. They did not make the finals of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge for nothing and will have good momentum from the last couple of weeks. It will be a huge challenge,” predicts Marais.
According to Prinsloo, they will face a determined home side. “To play Griquas in Kimberley is a huge match for any team, as they do not stop fighting for the whole 80 minutes. We need to execute well on attack and make sure our defence stay committed till the final whistle if we want to achieve a positive result. That said, the focus will be on what we want to achieve and our own mental toughness.”
15 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Koch Marx, 10 Andre Swarts, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Floris Pelser, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Abraham le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks
Substitutes: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Rudi Van Rooyen, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Enver Brandt
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Franco Naude, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Boom Prinsloo (captain), 5 Abongile Nonkontwana, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 John-Roy Jenkinson, 18 Freddy Ngoza, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 JT Jackson