Jake makes some big calls as Marcell Coetzee leads Bulls against WP
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CAPE TOWN – Marcell Coetzee has recovered from concussion to lead the Bulls in Friday’s Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province.
Coach Jake White also re-jigged his backline on Thursday, where he has made some big selection calls for the Loftus Versfeld clash (7pm kickoff).
Regular inside centre Cornal Hendricks has been shifted back to right wing, where he has played a few times this season, with old Lions stalwarts Lionel Mapoe and Harold Vorster reunited in midfield.
That sees last year’s star No 13, Stedman Gans, missed out altogether as he is not on the bench either.
As expected, Zak Burger is back at scrumhalf for Marco Jansen van Vuren, who played at No 9 against the Cheetahs last week, but is out of the match-23 this time around.
Coetzee has missed a chunk of the Currie Cup season – first due to Covid-19, and then concussion – but reclaims the No 6 jersey and the captaincy, with stand-in skipper Arno Botha now at blindside flank.
Another tough selection for White would have been at hooker, where youngster Jan-Hendrik Wessels scored two tries in a Man-of-the-Match performance against the Cheetahs last weekend, but Schalk Erasmus has been preferred.
“The knockout stages of the Currie Cup are always a notch or two higher in intensity and competitiveness. That will certainly be the case against a determined Western Province side this week,” White said in a statement on Thursday.
“This week our group of players have been working hard to ensure that we are prepared physically and mentally for what lies ahead.
“Thankfully, we have a number of players in this group who have been at this stage of the competition before. We will rely on each of them to put their bodies on the line this week against quality opposition.”
Bulls: 15 David Kriel; 14 Cornal Hendricks; 13 Lionel Mapoe; 12 Harold Vorster; 11 Madosh Tambwe; 10 Johan Goosen; 9 Zak Burger; 8 Elrigh Louw; 7 Arno Botha; 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain); 5 Ruan Nortjé; 4 Janko Swanepoel; 3 Mornay Smith; 2 Schalk Erasmus; 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels; 17 Simphiwe Matanzima; 18 Jacques van Rooyen; 19 Jacques du Plessis; 20 WJ Steenkamp; 21 Keagan Johannes; 22 Chris Smith; 23 Stravino Jacobs.