It will be a special day for Vodacom Bulls stalwarts Pierre Spies and Mornè Steyn at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday when their team takes on the Highlanders in a Vodacom Super Rugby clash.
Spies will play in his 100th Super match for his team, becoming the seventh player from the franchise to reach that mark. His debut for the team was against the self-same Highlanders, but in Dunedin and on the wing way back in 2005.
Steyn will become the most capped Vodacom Bulls player in Super Rugby, playing in his 117th match for the franchise and will move past Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw’s 116 match mark.
The milestones will be celebrated away from the field as the real business on it will be to secure a good win over a very dangerous opponent, Spies said on Wednesday when the Vodacom Bulls team was announced for the clash.
“These milestones are special, but there is a place for that. My focus and that of the team is fully set on the Highlanders and what we need to do to beat them. We did very well against the Hurricanes two weeks ago, had a week’s break and now need to find that rhythm and momentum again.”
There have been five changes to the starting side that scored the bonus point win over the Hurricanes. Three of those are in the backline and two in the front row.
Jan Serfontein returns to inside centre ahead of Wynand Olivier, Lionel Mapoe swops his place on the bench with Bjorn Basson and will play left wing and Jano Vermaak and Francois Hougaard also do swop the number nine and number twenty jerseys.
Up front Frik Kirsten and Mornè Mellett take over the propping duties from Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling. In a change on the bench, Callie Visagie takes over from Willie Wepener.
The team (with number of Super caps) is: Jürgen Visser (6), Akona Ndungane (90), JJ Engelbrecht (26), Jan Serfontein (7), Lionel Mapoe (37), Morné Steyn(116), Francois Hougaard (50), Pierre Spies (99, c), Dewald Potgieter (60), Deon Stegmann (68), Juandré Kruger (27), Flip van der Merwe (56), Frik Kirsten (24), Chiliboy Ralepelle (62), Morné Mellet (8). Replacements: Callie Visagie (18), Werner Kruger (85), Grant Hattingh (15), Arno Botha (19), Jano Vermaak (98), Louis Fouchè (19), Bjorn Basson (48).
• Pierre Spies will play in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the Vodacom Bulls. The other centurions for the franchise are Bakkies Botha (100), Wynand Olivier (108), Fourie du Preez (112), Pedrie Wannenburg (113), Danie Rossouw (116), Victor Matfield (116) and Mornè Steyn (116).
• Mornè Steyn (116) will pass the mark for most appearances for the Vodacom Bulls, currently shared between him, Danie Rossouw and Victor Matfield. Steyn could also improve on a number of scoring records in Super Rugby – (1349 points, 251 penalties, 228 conversions and 25 drop goals). He has also scored 13 tries.