Pretoria - Bulls coach Nollis Marais has named Tuks flyer Sibahle Maxwane on the wing for the team’s Super Rugby clash against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday to hand the 21-year-old his team and tournament debut, while also making four changes in total to his backline.
Maxwane replaces the injured Jamba Ulengo, while Jan Serfontein and Francois Brummer will earn starts and Jesse Kriel will play at fullback.
Kriel comes in for Warrick Gelant, who moves the bench to take over from Serfontein who moves in Kriel’s place at centre. Brummer takes over from Tian Schoeman.
In the only change in the pack, Lood de Jager moves from the bench into the engine room in place of suspended RG Snyman.
Marais also named uncapped Abongile Nonkontwana on the bench, with the former Blue Bulls Under-21 captain taking over the vacancy left by De Jager.
“We had three debutants last weekend and this weekend two more new faces will play for the Bulls for the first time in what is already a fairly young team,” Marais said.
“I have no doubt in their abilities, as I have always believed that age should not impact on selection. Rabs (Sibahle) showed great form and potential for Tuks and was named in the Varsity Cup Dream Team, so that form was widely acknowledged. He continued with that in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge for the Blue Bulls, scoring a hat-trick in one of the matches, so I am excited to see him perform,” Marais said of the former Border Craven Week, Western Province and SA Rugby Sevens Academy player.
“Abongile came through the ranks and his breakthrough into Super Rugby always was a matter of when rather than if. He will also perform well.”
The coach is wary of the Lions.
“Look, they are our form team, no doubt. We have had epic battles with them and this is a big derby match, so the guys will be up for it.”
Bulls captain, Hanro Liebenberg, said they are excited about the match.
“We have a chance to compare ourselves against the leading South African team in the competition. That is a nice challenge. The fact that it is a Gauteng derby also makes it a nice one for the fans. We owe our fans a good show and where better to do that than in Johannesburg against the Lions.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens
Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Coenraad van Vuuren, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant