Hougaard out of Griquas clash

Date published: August 27 2015

Francois Hougaard will miss the Blue Bulls clash with the Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday to attend his sister's wedding.

Hanro Liebenberg is also missing through injury with Ivan van Zyl starting at scrum-half in his run-on debut, whilst the return of Springbok Arno Botha at number eight will offset the loss of Liebenberg, who will be out for at least a month with a ruptured small intestine.

Botha has just returned from injury and will be part of a new loose forward trio that will also feature regular captain, Lappies Labuschagne, and new starter, Jannes Kirsten, who debuted for the team last weekend from the bench. Kirsten replaces the injured Roelof Smit in the last of three changes to the starting team from last weekend.

With Smit, Deon Stegmann and Liebenberg all out injured, the recent signing of former Saracens and Maties flanker Nick de Jager is bearing fruit, with the player being included on the bench for a possible Currie Cup debut for the log leading Blue Bulls.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais also added Corniel Els and Andre Warner to the bench. Warner comes in for Van Zyl who is starting and Els will take over from Jaco Visagie, who is unavailable due to a personal bereavement.

"Our hands are forced a bit with the injuries amongst our loose forwards, but it is great to have Arno back in action," said Marais.

"He is keen to make a statement and I am expecting a big match from him. Griquas showed us how physical they can be when we played them a couple of weeks back, so to have a big and abrasive player like Arno back, comes at just the right time.

"Any team will miss Hougie, but Ivan has all the attributes I am looking for from a team perspective. He is quick, understands space and knows how we want to play."

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Nick de Jager, 20 André Warner, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Dan Kriel.

Date: Saturday, 29 August
Venue: Griqua Park, Kimberley
Kick-off: 15:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco Kotze
TMO: JJ Wagner