Ismaiel, Nyakane back in starting line-up for Vodacom Bulls

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Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell, named Travis Ismaiel on the right wing for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Cell C Sharks at Loftus Versfeld. Ismaiel, a regular starter for the team this year, missed three weeks of action due to injury and played off the bench in the last two matches against the Highlanders and DHL Stormers. He replaces Divan Rossouw, who moves to the bench.

Trevor Nyakane, who missed the DHL Stormers clash, is fit again following his neck strain and will start at tighthead in place of Conraad van Vuuren, who moves to the bench.

In another tweak to his pack, Mitchell named Marco van Staden at no8 in place of Thembelani Bholi, where he will combine with Jason Jenkins and Roelof Smit. Bholi moves to the bench.

“We all know what is at stake here. We all understand the long-term vision and strategy, but short-term results are as important,” Mitchell said.

“The Sharks have shown how good they can be in dismantling the Highlanders and will come for us, no doubt.”

Burger Odendaal, captain of the Vodacom Bulls, said they need to play with the same intensity as they did a month ago, when they beat the Sharks in Durban.

“Every point counts from here on in and we need to make sure we bag the result here. They are full of confidence and momentum following last week’s great performance. To add to that, it is another local derby against a team that always demands the best effort from us. We are real keen for this one.”

The team to face the Cell C Sharks (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (28, 50), Travis Ismaiel  (35, 50), Jesse Kriel (54,50), Burger Odendaal (c; 41, 15), Johnny Kotze (29, 25), Handre Pollard (41, 365), Ivan van Zyl (12, 0), Marco van Staden (10, 5), Jason Jenkins (36, 35), Roelof Smit (22, 5), Lood de Jager (59, 20), RG Snyman (33, 10), Trevor Nyakane (88, 15), Adriaan Strauss (153, 95), Lizo Gqoboka (36, 10). Replacements: Jaco Visagie (30, 5), Frans van Wyk (10, 0)/Mox Mxoli (3, 0), Conraad van Vuuren (11, 0), Thembalani Bholi (24, 5), Nic de Jager (23, 15), Andre Warner (9, 10), Manie Libbok (6, 2), Divan Rossouw (9, 15).


Adriaan Strauss will extend his South African record for appearances in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament. He will take to the field for the 154th time.


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