Four Springboks have been included in the Blue Bulls matchday squad that will face Western Province in the Currie Cup clash in Pretoria on Saturday.
Trevor Nyakane, Marco van Staden, Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier will all be in action after returning from the Boks’ Rugby Championship campaign.
Nyakane and Van Zyl made earlier appearances in the Currie Cup, but it will be a first showing for Van Staden and Papier in the 2018 competition.
In fact, Papier, who is named on the replacements bench and will replace Van Zyl during the match, will debut for the Blue Bulls in this highly anticipated clash against the league leaders and defending champions.
“We certainly have everything to play for and need all capable hands on deck, so the availability of the four players are very welcome,” said Blue Bulls coach Pote Human.
“We are facing a formidable WP side who will also have some Springboks back. They are already in the semifinals, so they will play without fear and that will make them a very dangerous opponent. They are a very skilful team with lots of game breakers and our defence will be tested.”
The return of Van Staden will be crucial in this regard and Blue Bulls captain Hanro Liebenberg feels forward dominance will be an important factor in the clash.
“We will have to dictate the style of play and tempo if we want to be successful,” he said.
“They are quite adapt on the counter, so ball possession will be key if we want to secure the win we need to confirm a semi-final spot. It is nice to have those four players back and we will be looking at them to provide momentum and confidence.”
Liebenberg made a call to the Loftus faithful to support the team.
“We play for our supporters just as much as we play for ourselves, so it will be great if they arrive in big numbers to support us.”
Blue Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Franco Naude, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hendre Stassen, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Matthys Basson
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Ruan Nortje, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Embrose Papier, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Dylan Sage
Date: Saturday, October 13
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17:15 local (16:15 BST, 15:15 GMT)
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Eduan Nel
Television match official: Lesego Legoete