Springbok Kriel starts at centre for Blue Bulls

Jesse Kriel (Gallo)
Jesse Kriel (Gallo)

Cape Town - Jesse Kriel will make a long-awaited return to the Blue Bulls on Saturday when they travel to Durban to face the Sharks in the Currie Cup. 

Kriel last played for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup in 2014, but has since been part of the Springboks set-up and not available to play for the 'Ligbloues' in the premier domestic competition. 

Kriel has only played nine times for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Currie Cup and his tenth appearance is welcomed by coach Pote Human, who did not hesitate to include the utility back into the starting team. 

"Of course it is great to have Jesse back in the team. He is a world class player and we welcome him back with a smile on our faces," said Human. 

"That said, this remains a team game and a team effort. We need to make sure we create the opportunities and space for someone like Jesse to perform. The Sharks also have a couple of Springboks in their squad, so they will be a pretty tough team to beat, especially in Durban, where they hosted the final last year." 

Kriel replaces JT Jackson, who moves to the bench, while Human also promoted Hendre Stassen to the starting team in place of injured Ruben van Heerden from the team that opened their season with a win in Bloemfontein last Friday. 

Stassen's place on the bench is taken by Eli Snyman. Edgar Marutlulle is back on the bench in place of Jan-Henning Campher, with Jaco Visagie moving into the starting line-up. Reagan Oranje will make his debut at scrumhalf, should he take to the field. He replaces Theo Maree as back-up to Andre Warner. 

Blue Bulls captain, Hanro Liebenberg, said they will focus on the positive start in Bloemfontein. 

"We have a tough opening spell in the Currie Cup with away games in Bloemfontein and Durban to start with. We did well in Bloemfontein and that was good for the confidence, but if we don't pitch up in Durban, it could be a step back again. So we are pretty determined to apply ourselves and continue with the good work done against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs." 

Teams:

Sharks

15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Juan Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Khutha Mchunu, 18 Andrew Evans, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Johan Deysel, 22 Aphelele Fassi

Blue Bulls

15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Hendre Stassen, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Matthys Basson

Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Eli Snyman, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Raegan Orange, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 JT Jackson

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