Kurt-Lee Arendse’s remarkable return softens blow of losing another Springboks star as Bulls name team for URC final

Colin Newboult
Kurt-Lee Arendse in action for the Bulls.

Kurt-Lee Arendse in action for the Bulls.

The Bulls have made just one change to their side to take on Glasgow Warriors in the United Rugby Championship final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

They will go head-to-head with the Warriors in Pretoria as a new champion will be crowned for the third season in a row following Munster’s defeat in the semi-finals.

The holders succumbed 17-10 to Glasgow in the last-four clash at Thomond Park in what was a bad weekend for the Irish giants.

Earlier in the day, Leinster lost 25-20 to the Bulls to complete yet another frustrating campaign for the Dublin outfit.

Mixed news on injury front

Bulls head coach Jake White has been boosted by the return of Kurt-Lee Arendse, who has made a quicker-than-expected recovery from a fractured cheekbone.

Arendse sustained the injury in their URC quarter-final triumph over Benetton two weeks ago and underwent emergency surgery the next day.

That was initially with the aim of getting him ready in time for South Africa’s huge Test series with Ireland in July, but the 28-year-old is fit enough to start on Saturday.

He takes Devon Williams’ position on the wing with the experienced speedster changing position and taking the place of Willie le Roux at full-back.

Le Roux, who starred for the Bulls in the semi-final, was taken off with a head injury against Leinster and will miss the showpiece event after going through the mandatory concussion protocols.

‘A massive loss’ – Springboks star undergoes emergency surgery to ‘give him a chance’ for July Tests

Elsewhere, the South Africans are unchanged as they seek to win their first URC title having fallen short two years prior.

Arendse and Williams are joined by two-try semi-final hero Sergeal Petersen in the back three, while David Kriel and Harold Vorster once again line up at centre.

At half-back, Embrose Papier and Johan Goosen combine with Cameron Hanekom, Elrigh Louw and Marco van Staden the loose trio.

The front five remains unchanged after they dominated the Leinster scrum thanks primarily to the performances of front-rowers Wilco Louw, Johan Grobbelaar and Gerhard Steenekamp.

On the bench, there is one alteration as Zak Burger comes in for Keagan Johannes as the reserve scrum-half.

Bulls team to face Glasgow

Bulls: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Cornel Smit

Date: Saturday, June 22
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 18:00 local (17:00 BST, 16:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

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