Johannesburg – The recall of a fit-again Handrè Pollard and first starts for William Small-Smith and David Bullbring highlight the Blue Bulls team changes ahead of their Currie Cup clash against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Sampie Mastriet and Marcel van der Merwe were recalled while Jurgen Visser returns at fullback and Clayton Blommetjies drops to the bench.
Pollard missed last week's clash against the Golden Lions with an ankle injury and comes in for Tony Jantjies.
Mastriet had made way for Springbok Bjorn Basson's cameo appearance for the team. Van der Merwe replaces injured Mornè Mellett as loose head prop.
Small-Smith and Bullbring make their debut Currie Cup starts for the Bulls. The outside centre swops places with Ulrich Beyers, who moves to the bench, while Bullbring comes in for Wilhelm Steenkamp, who drops out of the match 22 altogether.
A fit-again Bongi Mbonambi has also been recalled and will play off the bench, with Jaco Visagie returning to the Under-21 side.
According to Pienaar, the team has been selected with a specific plan in mind.
“I think it is fair to say that we will try and play in a particular way and for that, we will need a very strong contribution from our bench,” Pienaar said on Wednesday.
“All 22 will have to contribute if we want to beat Griquas in Kimberley. They are a very dangerous side at home and came so close in a number of their matches.
“This really will be our toughest challenge of the season, given our log position and the number of matches left.”
The Blue Bulls team is: Jurgen Visser, Sampie Mastriet, William Small-Smith, Francois Venter, Akona Ndungane, Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Jono Ross (c), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg, David Bulbring, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: Mbongeni Mbonambi, Frik Kirsten/Dean Greyling, Grant Hattingh, Jacques Engelbrecht, Lohan Jacobs, Ulrich Beyers, Clayton Blommetjies. – Sapa