Springbok artillery rested as White heavily rotates Bulls for Champions Cup

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Bulls director of rugby Jake White selected a heavily-rotated side for their first-ever Champions Cup encounter when they face French club Lyon at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (19:30).

Bereft of any current Springboks, the Bulls have capped internationals Nizaam Carr, Bismarck du Plessis and Lizo Gqoboka in the 23, with retired Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn captaining the team in Ruan Nortje's absence.

None of the in-form Springbok outside backs - Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie - feature, nor do the preferred halfbacks Zak Burger and Embrose Papier.

READ | Sharks expecting same world-class Etzebeth despite workload: 'He wants to be the best in the world'

However, Wandisile Simelane gets another chance to impress at fullback, while Stedman Gans gets a rare chance at No 13 after falling well down the pecking order.

Gqoboka will make his 100th Bulls appearance if he gets onto the park, while the Bulls faithful will get a chance to see promising talents Sibongile Novuka and Phumzile Maqondwana show their wares.

White said it was an opportunity to box clever in terms of selecting and managing players, adding that the team was loaded with Morne Steyn, Jacques van Rooyen, Lizo Gqoboka, Nizaam Carr and Dylan Smith's experience.

"When this month started, I said in press conferences that we’re going to be very clever about how we manage the players," said White.

"It’s just so happened that a couple of guys from the Springboks needed some time off after coming back.

"Some guys have worked really hard to get a game. And I just felt that it’s a home game and a good opportunity for some boys who pushed really hard to start.

"There are three Springboks in the mix, five or six guys who’ve played the Currie Cup final and two three-time Super Rugby finalist.

"So, there’s enough experience there. There are old, wiser heads. Even though there are one or two youngsters, the average age of this team is quite high.

"It’s a nice, balanced group. Taking nothing away from Lyon, I know how strong Top 14 and Champions Cup rugby is but it’s an opportunity to show we can be clever, not only in this game but the following week.

"And it goes all the way through to the end of January before we get another break during the Six Nations."

Bulls team:

15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morne Steyn (captain), 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Muller Uys, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dylan Smith.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Sebastian Lombard, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smit, 23 Juan Mostert

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24