JOHANNESBURG – Bulls coach Nollis Marais named an exciting, young squad to travel to Cape Town where they will face the Stormers in the opening weekend of the Super Rugby competition.
The Bulls will be captained by Adriaan Strauss, one of nine Springboks in the team.
The team has a youthful look about it and features four debutants at this level in the starting team.
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) February 24, 2016
Warrick Gelant (fullback), Nic de Jager (flank), Jannes Kirsten (flank) and RG Snyman (lock) will make debuts at this level, with Lizo Gqoboka (prop) and Jason Jenkins (lock) the rookies on the bench.
Francois Brummer, Tian Schoeman, Roelof Smit, Jaco Visagie and Hencus van Wyk also have only a handful number of games at this level, but that does not faze Marais.
“They are playing for us because they are good enough. I have faith in this group. Yes, we have some injuries, but that is part of the rugby landscape. I back this team to go down to Cape Town and do us proud,” Marais said.
The Bulls have not done well at Newlands in recent times and last won in Cape Town in 2011 and also lost six of their last eight matches to their Cape foes, but Marais believes a new era is looming.
“We certainly will be up against it and could not have asked for a tougher assignment than this. This group of players have the talent to become a special team, so if they can find some continuity and momentum in the game, we will be competitive,” Marais said.
Bulls team: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Francois Brummer, Rudy Paige, Arno Botha, Jannes Kirsten, Nic de Jager, Grant Hattingh, RG Snyman, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Trevor Nyakane. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka, Hencus van Wyk, Jason Jenkins, Roelof Smit, Piet van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Burger