Currie Cup

Bulls boosted by Stedman Gans, Cornal Hendricks return for Pumas clash

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Bulls centre Stedman Gans scores during their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 31 October 2020.
Bulls centre Stedman Gans scores during their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 31 October 2020.
Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Blitzboks star Stedman Gans and former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks will return to the Bulls squad for their Currie Cup clash against the Pumas on Wednesday.

The Currie Cup log leaders made a number of changes with flyhalf Johan Goosen making the starting line-up at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Talented fullback Sibongile Novuka, who has come off the bench in two previous outings this season, will earn his first start for the Bulls.

Novuka joins a new-look backline, including a midfield pairing of Hendricks and Gans, while Goosen and Zak Burger will partner once again for the halfback combination.

Arno Botha will lead the side while spearheading a forwards pack that will see No 8, Elrigh Louw, returning to the starting XV after being utilised from the bench against the Sharks at the weekend. 

Hooker Schalk Erasmus, together with props Gerhard Steenekamp and Mornay Smith, will also start the match in the front row.

The Bulls currently lead the Currie Cup standings on 39 points with the Sharks four points behind on 35.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White said that his side will be wary of the Pumas, who are third on 27 points.

"This is our penultimate match in the round-robin stages, so it is important that we give it our best shot in the remaining matches to secure a spot in the playoffs," said White.

"We had the opportunity to rotate the team in some positions at the weekend, and it paid off. We have done the same for this midweek game in order to give the players enough opportunity to make a contribution towards the team.

"We are looking forward to seeing what the likes of Novuka can offer from the start of the match after having shown his worth from the bench in previous encounters.

"The Pumas will be a tough competitor, especially at home in Nelspruit. They do not occupy third position on the log by accident - they have been strong competitors throughout this campaign."

Kick-off is at 14:30.

Teams:

Pumas

15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Sebastián de Klerk, 13 Alwayno Visage, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Khwezi Mafu, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Niel Otto, 5 Pieter van Vuuren (captain), 4 Kwanda Dimaza, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Morgan Naude

Substitutes: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Christo Bezuidenhout, 19 Shane Kirkwood, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Eddie Fouche, 23 Matt More

Bulls

15 Sibongile Novuka, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Arno Botha (Captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Substitutes: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Mhleli Dlamini, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Lionel Mapoe, 24 Nolan Pienaar, 25 Reinhardt Roets, 26 Joe van Zyl, 27 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 28 Madosh Tambwe

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