Preview: Blue Bulls v Griquas

Date published: August 13 2015

The Blue Bulls will look to build on their fine start to the tournament when they host Griquas in Pretoria on Friday.

After bowing out in last year's semi-finals and a poor Super Rugby campaign, many enthusiasts didn't expect the Pretoria-based outfit to be amongst the frontrunners in this year's Currie Cup.

But under the guidance of new head coach Nollis Marais, they kicked off their campaign in emphatic style by thrashing the Free State Cheetahs 57-19 in Bloemfontein.

Scrum-half Francois Hougaard delivered a man-of-the-match performance and scored two tries in that victory. 

Hougaard is out to prove a point, after he was left out of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's squad and will look to build on that effort against the men from Kimberley.

Griquas were on the receiving end of a 43-19 defeat against the defending champions Western Province in Kimberley on Friday and, as that scoreline suggests, they had little to crow after that effort.

Their head coach Hawies Fourie has made several changes to his matchday squad for this weekend's clash.

Amongst the backs, Ruhan Nel shifts from outside centre to right wing where he replaces Ederies Arendse while Johnathan Francke comes in to wear the number 13 jersey.

In the forwards, former Springbok loose forward Hilton Lobberts takes over from Nardus van der Walt on the blindside flank while Stephan Kotze replaces Ewald van der Westhuizen who drops down to the bench.

There's a strong look to the visitors' replacements bench which includes experienced players like Martin Bezuidenhout (hooker), Leon Karemaker (back-row) and former Blue Bulls wing Jacquin Jansen.

Prediction: The Bulls are on a high and will have too much ammunition for the men from Kimberely. Bulls to win by 25 points!

The teams:

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dries Swanepoel.

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 18 Jaco Nepgen, 19 Leon Karemaker, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Clinton Swart, 22 Jacquin Jansen.

Date: Friday, August 14
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Sindile Ngcese, Archie Sehlako
Assessor: Craig Joubert