Four Springboks, Trevor Nyakane, Marco van Staden, Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier, have been included in the match day squad that will face DHL Western Province in Pretoria on Saturday for the home side’s final regulation Currie Cup match.
Nyakane and Van Zyl did make earlier appearances in the competition, but it will be a first show for Van Staden and Papier in the 2018 competition, presented by Direct Axis and Nashua.
In fact, Papier, who was named on the bench and will replace Van Zyl during the match, will debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in this highly anticipated clash against the log leaders and defending champions.
“We certainly have everything to play for and need all capable hands on deck, so the availability of the four players are very welcome,” said Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Pote Human.
“We are facing a formidable WP side who will also have some Springboks back. They are already in the semifinals, so they will play without fear and that will make them a very dangerous opponent. They are a very skilful team with lots of game breakers and our defence will be tested.”
The return of Van Staden will be crucial in this regard and Vodacom Blue Bulls captain, Hanro Liebenberg, said forward dominance will be an important factor in the clash.
“We will have to dictate the style of play and tempo if we want to be successful. They are quite adapt on the counter, so ball possession will be key if we want to secure the win we need to confirm a semi-final spot. It is nice to have those four players back and we will be looking at them to provide momentum and confidence.”
Liebenberg made a call to the Loftus faithful to support the team.
“We play for our supporters just as much as we play for ourselves, so it will be great if they arrive in big numbers to support us.”
The Vodacom Blue Bulls team for Saturday (with Currie Cup caps and points) is:
15. Divan Rossouw (8, 5)
14. Jamba Ulengo (38, 125)
13. Johnny Kotze (39, 35)
12. Franco Naude (5, 5)
11. Jade Stighling (14, 25)
10. Manie Libbok (9, 66)
9. Ivan van Zyl (22, 30)
8. Hanro Liebenberg (c; 18, 20)
7. Marco van Staden (6, 5)
6. Ruan Steenkamp (14, 25)
5. Eli Snyman (4, 0)
4. Hendre Stassen (5, 0)
3. Trevor Nyakane (28, 10)
2. Jaco Visagie (32, 10)
1. Matthys Basson (12, 0)
16. Edgar Marutlulle (55, 45)
17. Dayan van der Westhuizen (17, 15)
18. Ruan Nortje (5, 0)
19. Nic de Jager (22, 15)
20. Embrose Papier (0, 0)
21. Tinus de Beer (6, 20)
22. Dylan Sage (2, 0)