Preview: Blue Bulls v EP Kings

Date published: September 30 2015

The Eastern Province Kings will travel to Loftus Versveld in Pretoria where they will face a Blue Bulls side that is looking to get their Currie Cup season back on track.

After five wins in a row, the Bulls lost in rounds six and seven. That was rectified last week against the Natal Sharks and the home side will want to continue that momentum.

Both teams are coming off narrow victories from last week's Currie Cup action. The Bulls battled to a well earned 17-13 win at the Sharks, while the Kings hosted a fired up Griquas side in a ten-try thriller, just edging the visitors 40-37.

However, it was just the Kings' second win of the season and it was against the lowest-ranked team in the competition.

Bandise Maku will lead out the Bulls as he celebrates his 50th Currie Cup cap for the franchise.

Lock RG Snyman will get his first start for men from Pretoria, with Marvin Orie moving to the bench.

With Jan Serfontein recieving an emergency SOS call from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to replace the injured Jean de Villiers, Dries Sawnepoel will start at outside centre. The destructive Burger Odendaal keeps his place at 12.

Meanwhile, the Kings will be without captain Luke Watson for the rest of the season, as the loose forward underwent successful operation for a knee contusion with a cartilage flap. 

Tim Whitehead will captain the side as he looks to build on his fantastic performance against the Griquas where he scored two tries.

Elgar Watts will run on for the visitors in the number ten jersey for the first time this season. His good performances coming off the bench for two weeks in a row have moved Karlo Aspeling to the bench.

In the forwards, prop Lizo Gqoboka and Falnker Thembelani Bholi replace Schalk Ferreira and Paul Schoeman respectively.

Prediction: While the Kings gained some momentum with a telling performance last weekend, the Bulls in front of the fired up Loftus faithful should prove too hot to handle for the vistors. Bulls to win by 16 points.

The teams:

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marvin Orie, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small Smith

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis,12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes (vc), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo Aspeling

Date: Friday, October 2
Venue: Loftus Versveld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Lesego Legoete
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs, Francois Pretorius