Liebenberg to start at eight for Blue Bulls

Date published: August 30 2016

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Three former Springbok U20 captains will combine as the Blue Bulls' back row when they take on the Golden Lions in Pretoria on Friday.

Hanro Liebenberg (2015), Ruan Steenkamp (2013) and Arno Botha (2011) will pack behind a tight five that sees one change from last weekend's match against the Sharks.

Pierre Schoeman will start at loosehead prop in place of Lizo Gqoboka. Liebenberg comes in to back row for the injured Jannes Kirsten.

Liebenberg started on the bench in the Durban defeat, but with Kirsten (AC joint) out, Botha moves to the side of the scrum and Liebenberg starts at number eight.

His place on the bench will be taken by Roelof Smit, who has also recovered from injury.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais did not change too much to his team that came within a whisker of drawing the match in Durban against the undefeated Sharks, with the same starting backline running out.

"We are back at Loftus Versfeld, so have no excuses," said Marais.

"We play our best rugby here and enjoy massive support.

"The Golden Lions fans will remind us that we lost here last time we played and that is a good dose of reality. We have not been at our best and still need to play for this season. 

"This is an ideal opportunity to do it against the defending champions. We could not ask for a bigger challenge."

Botha pointed to the strong second half performance.

“We started well, then lapsed and finished well. That is what we need to improve on, especially against the Lions, who play such a high-paced game. We need to play to our strengths and our speed and for that, we need to control possession and territory.”

Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Arno Botha (c), 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1Pierre Schoeman 
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers

Date: Friday, September 2
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Francois Pretorius, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff

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