Bulls name young side for opener

Date published: February 24 2016

Warrick Gelant

Bulls head coach Nollis Marais named a young squad to travel to Cape Town where they will face the Stormers in the opening round of the Super Rugby season.

The Bulls will be captained by Adriaan Strauss, one of nine Springboks in the team. The team has a youthful look about it and features four debutants at this level in the XV.

Warrick Gelant (full-back), Nic de Jager (flank), Jannes Kirsten (flank) and RG Snyman (lock) will make their bows at this level, with Lizo Gqoboka (prop) and Jason Jenkins (lock) the rookies on the bench.

The likes of Francois Brummer, Tian Schoeman, Roelof Smit, Jaco Visagie and Hencus van Wyk also have only a handful number of games at this level, but that does not faze Marais.

"They are playing for us because they are good enough. I have faith in this group. Yes, we have some injuries, but that is part of the rugby landscape. I back this team to go down to Cape Town and do us proud," Marais said.

The Bulls have not done well at Newlands in recent times and last won in Cape Town in 2011 and also lost six of their last eight matches to their Cape foes, but Marais believes a new era is looming.

"We certainly will be up against it and could not have asked for a tougher assignment than this. This group of players have the talent to become a special team, so if they can find some continuity and momentum in the game, we will be competitive," Marais added.

Strauss also expressed confidence ahead of the game at Newlands.

"We have definite goals for the season. This is a new team, new era and for that matter, a new competition. We have very skilful players and if we can guarantee them enough ball, they will score tries. We need to be competitive upfront and if we are, I believe we will be in with a good chance. We are playing a very solid team at home though, so does not really have an option to take our best game to Newlands," he said.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Burger Odendaal

Date: Saturday, February 27
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

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