The Vodacom Bulls have named a strong matchday squad for their Vodacom Super Rugby season opener against the Cell C Sharks at Jonsson Kings Park on Friday, 31 January 2020.
The team welcomes back flyhalf Morné Steyn who last played for the Pretoria outfit in 2013 and is the only three time Vodacom Super Rugby champion that remains within the South African circuit.
Steyn is joined by two 2019 Rugby World Cup winners in fullback Warrick Gelant and prop Trevor Nyakane.
They are joined by no.8 Josh Strauss, flank Jeandré Rudolph, lock Andries Ferreira and replacement loose forward Wian Vosloo who will be running out for their first cap for the Vodacom Bulls while replacement lock Ryno Pieterse will make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut off the bench.
The rest of the team includes four Springboks in scrumhalves Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier with Cornal Hendricks to flex his speed on the wing, with lock Juandré Kruger adding some grunt to the engine room
Vodacom Bulls head coach, Pote Human, has also opted to select the same 6/2 split between the forwards and backs on the bench as the Springboks did during their successful Rugby World Cup campaign last season.
"We have enjoyed a strong preseason with few injuries which has allowed us to select our strongest available team to take on a well-oiled Cell C Sharks outfit," said Vodacom Bulls head coach, Pote Human.
History favours the visitors with the Vodacom Bulls securing eight wins and a draw in their last nine matches against the Durban team.
"We have a job to do in Durban and we are not taking it lightly. The Cell C Sharks have proved time and time again that they are a dangerous team if underestimated. We are going into the match with level heads and a battle plan in hand."
Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Burger Odendaal (C),
11. Rosko Specman, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 8. Josh Strauss, 7. Abongile Nonkontwana, 6. Jeandré Rudolph, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16. Johan Grobbelaar, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Trevor Nyakane, 19. Ruan Nortje, 20. Ryno Pieterse, 21. Wian Vosloo, 22. Embrose Papier, 23. Manie Libbok