New halfbacks and captain as Vodacom Bulls close out season against Emirates Lions

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Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell, has named Manie Libbok and Ivan van Zyl as the halfback combination for their final Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg. The coach also named RG Snyman as captain as a number of injuries hampered selection, ruling out regular captain Burger Odendaal and stand-in, Handre Pollard. Winger Travis Ismaiel is fit again and return to the team though, with Divan Rossouw moving to the bench.

Mitchell tweaked the pack as well following their win over the Jaguares last weekend, with Jannes Kirsten moving to lock and Thembelani Bholi coming in at flank. Ruben van Heerden drops out of the match day squad.

The coach also decided to blood three more youngsters to the competition. Johan Grobbelaar (hooker), Ruan Nortje (lock) and Boeta Hamman (flyhalf) are included on the bench and could make a tournament and Vodacom Bulls debut should they take to the field.

Mitchell challenged the squad to deliver one more performance to be proud of in this Jukskei derby.

“I asked the team for an extraordinary performance to close the season out. The other option is to just settle for an easy way to end the season, but that is not who we are as a team.”

Kriel also urged on his team mates to end the season well. “One can expect the Emirates Lions to come out firing as they have everything to play for. This will be a massive contest, a typical South African derby if you like. This gives us a proper opportunity to show what we stand for as a team one more time.”

The team is: Warrick Gelant (33, 60), Travis Ismaiel (38, 50), Jesse Kriel (60, 70), Johnny Kotze (34, 40), Jamba Ulengo (22, 45), Manie Libbok (8, 6), Ivan van Zyl (16, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (27, 15), Thembelani Bholi (29, 5), Marco van Staden (15, 10), RG Snyman (38, 10; Captain), Jannes Kirsten (17, 10), Conraad van Vuuren (16, 6), Jaco Visagie (35, 50, Pierre Schoeman (34, 15). Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar (0, 0), Matthys Basson (1, 0), Mornay Smit (2, 0), Ruan Nortje (0, 0), Nick de Jager (28, 20), Embrose Papier (8, 5), Boeta Hamman (0, 0), Divan Rossouw (13, 15).

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