Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar included Springboks JJ Engelbrecht and Jan Serfontein in his backline and promoted loose forward Jacques Engelbrecht to his starting pack for Saturday’s do-or-die Absa Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The Bok midfield duo will play for the Vodacom Blue Bulls for the first time this season and will replace William Small-Smith and Francois Venter respectively. Small-Smith will move to the Under-21’s and Venter to the bench.
Engelbrecht’s inclusion at no8, only his second start in seven matches, prompted a reshuffle to the loose trio. Regular no8, Jono Ross, moves to the side of the scrum, with Wiaan Liebenberg released to captain the Under-21 side.
A fit-again Jean Cook moves onto the bench. In more changes on the bench, Werner Kruger replaces Dean Greyling and Clayton Blommetjies comes in for Ulrich Beyers.
Pienaar admitted that it was a very tough assignment.
“We painted ourselves into this corner and it is up to us to get out of it as well. This is not the ideal situation, but there is still something to play for. We will have to take our chances, it is as simple as that,” Pienaar said.
Ross echoed those sentiments.
“We still have a chance to make the play-offs. We need to prove to ourselves that we are good enough to do it.”
The team to play the Cheetahs is: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Handre Pollard, Rudy Paige, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jacques du Plessis, Jono Ross (c), David Bullbring, Paul Willemse, Frik Kirsten, Bongi Mbonambi, Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh, Jean Cook, Lohan Jacobs, Francois Venter, Clayton Blommetjies.