Props: Pierre Schoeman, Trevor Nyakane, Lizo Gqoboka, Jacobie Adriaanse, John-Roy Jenkinson; Hookers: Adriaan Strauss, Jaco Visagie, Edgar Marutlulle; Locks: RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Lood de Jager; Loose Forwards: Ruan Steenkamp, Renaldo Bothma, Hanro Liebenberg, Jannes Kirsten, Nic de Jager; Scrumhalves: Rudi Paige, Piet van Zyl; Flyhalves: Handre Pollard, Tian Schoema; Centres: Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jan Serfontein; Back three: Jamba Ulengo, Travis Ismaiel, Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel
Stand-in Bulls captain, Handre Pollard, believes there could not be a better time than now for the team to show their full potential.
Pollard, who will relinquish the captaincy because of the return from injury of regular skipper Adriaan Strauss, says they can’t be scared of playing against New Zealand opposition.
“It is a great opportunity, that is the way we all see it, it is a great opportunity. It is really exciting playing New Zealand sides, it is a great challenge as a lot of guys haven’t played against them. We aren’t scared, it is more of an excitement to do that (play against New Zealand teams) and measure ourselves against the best in the world,” Pollard said after their 37-21 win over the Sunwolves on Friday.
“This is more of a tour to do that and turn our season around and come back with some log points because we have a long streak at home. I think we can be a side that can contend for that semi-final spot. I think first of all we got to focus on next week, the Blues are the only side we are thinking of for the next few days and we have to get the four points there.”
Bulls coach Nollis Marais looked beyond the unconvincing win against the Sunwolves emphasising that the return of Springboks Jan Serfontein, who scored two tries on Friday, and Strauss would be valuable for the side in terms of experience than how they performed as a unit.
“Even if it is ugly it is a good win in Super Rugby. I mean last week the Sunwolves gave the Cheetahs a hard run in their game and we were even more in the match this week but there were a lot of unforced errors in the game. But confidence wise I think the guys played well. For me it is about the guys who came back from injury like Jan and Adriaan who made a huge difference.
“I believe to win a rugby game you need to get your best players on the field and you see what Jan and Adriaan did. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the Blues game, especially playing away because not a lot of our guys have played against the New Zealand teams,” Marais said.
But the Bulls leave without the services of Renaldo Bothma who got red carded in the 41st minute of the Sunwolves game because of an unintentional high tackle on Sunwolves captain Ed Quirk which has earned the loose forward a four week ban.