Bulls tinker but resist temptation for team overhaul ahead of Lyon Champions Cup clash

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Johan Goosen scores (Gallo)
Johan Goosen scores (Gallo)

Against their usual modus operandi, the Bulls have resisted the temptation to completely overhaul their Champions Cup team for the Lyon clash on Friday night.

In December, the Bulls gambled on playing a completely overhauled match-day 23 away at Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup, a week after doing the same at Loftus against Lyon.

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This time, the men from Pretoria have only tinkered with their team, bringing the likes of Cornal Hendricks into midfield to partner Wandisile Simelane and swapping halfbacks Embrose Papier, who starts, and Zak Burger, who is on the bench.

The Bulls, who are still without ill director of rugby Jake White, also changed their starting front row, bringing in Simphiwe Matanzima, Bismarck Du Plessis, and Francois Klopper ahead of Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar and Mornay Smith.

Skipper Ruan Nortje gets a half rest after dropping from the starting second row to the bench, while flyhalves Johan Goosen and Chris Smith also swap jerseys.

The Bulls arrived in France for the European clash with Lyon on the back of a fine 39-28 victory over a 14-man Exeter last Saturday night that secured that passage into the round of 16.

Friday's game kicks off at 22:00 (SA time).

Bulls team:

15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 David Kriel, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Nizaam Carr (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Francois Klopper, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima

Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Lionel Mapoe


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