Cape Town – Springboks Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie have been included as Jake White has gone full metal jacket with his Blue Bulls team for Friday’s Currie Cup clash against Griquas at Loftus Versfeld (5pm kickoff).
Despite the Bulls having played as recently as Sunday, in the Champions Cup last-16 33-9 defeat to Toulouse in France, White has picked his strongest possible side against the Kimberley outfit.
It is a quick turnaround for that match-23, who would have only arrived back in Pretoria on Tuesday, to play again the next Friday.
But the Bulls are in the midst of a 10-match losing streak in all competitions, and White will hope that his best players can finally break that duck against Griquas.
There are a few significant changes in the starting line-up, though. Stedman Gans has been given a belated opportunity at outside centre, having operated mainly off the bench in the main side and only really featuring in the Currie Cup line-up.
Former Blitzbok star Gans can certainly bring some cut and thrust on attack, with his speed and skills able to unlock defences, while he is a solid defender too.
In another key selection, Springbok Embrose Papier will start at scrumhalf in place of Zak Burger, and his pace across the ground can provide much-needed impetus to the Bulls with ball-in-hand.
There are a few new faces on the bench too, with loose forward Nizaam Carr back after playing against the Griffons last week, and the same applies to flyhalf Johan Goosen.
Blue Bulls Team
15 Kurt-Lee Arendse 14 Canan Moodie 13 Stedman Gans 12 Harold Vorster 11 David Kriel 10 Chris Smith 9 Embrose 8 Elrigh Louw 7 Cyle Brink 6 Marco van Staden 5 Ruan Nortjé (captain) 4 Ruan Vermaak 3 Mornay Smith 2 Johan Grobbelaar 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Bench: 16 Bismarck du Plessis 17 Dylan Smith 18 Francois Klopper 19 Janko Swanepoel 20 Nizaam Carr 21 Keagan Johannes 22 Johan Goosen 23 Cornal Hendricks.