Mornay Smith back from injury as Bulls pick ‘real’ Currie Cup team to face Lions

Mornay Smith, with ball in hand, is is back for the Bulls’ Currie Cup clash against the Lions. Picture: Tommy Dickson/INPHO/Shutterstock via BackpagePix

Mornay Smith, with ball in hand, is is back for the Bulls’ Currie Cup clash against the Lions. Picture: Tommy Dickson/INPHO/Shutterstock via BackpagePix

Published Mar 22, 2022


Cape Town – While the Bulls have finally picked a ‘real’ Currie Cup team to take on the Lions, the return of tighthead prop Mornay Smith is the highlight of the match-23 for Wednesday’s clash at Ellis Park (8pm kickoff).

Bulls coach Gert Smal picked a side on Tuesday that resembled a true second-string nature, compared to the line-ups in previous Currie Cup encounters this season.

There are no regular starters from the usual Bulls squad in the United Rugby Championship, with only tighthead prop Robert Hunt usually on the URC bench.

That doesn’t mean that Smal has chosen a weak side, though. David Kriel has been a constant figure in the first-choice Bulls team until recently, where Kurt-Lee Arendse has now become the starting No 15.

Kriel would want to show Smal and URC coach Jake White that he should be in the senior team mix, while there are many others with lots to play for.

Centre Stedman Gans and wing Stravino Jacobs were stalwarts in previous Currie Cup-winning campaigns, while Marco Jansen van Vuren finds himself in a new inside centre position.

Youngster Juan Mostert has been on the URC bench before, and now gets his chance to impress at flyhalf, and he will be partnered by another promising halfback in Bernard van der Linde.

WJ Steenkamp will look to continue his impressive recent form in a loose trio alongside Werner Gouws and Muller Uys, while Springbok Lizo Gqoboka will captain the side.

All eyes will be on Smith, though, as he has been out for a few months with an ankle injury, which saw the URC Bulls battle in the scrums initially.

Veteran Jacques van Rooyen has been solid in recent weeks, but White will hope that Smith comes through the Lions game unscathed.

“We are very fortunate to have a number of players with great leadership qualities in the Bulls squad, and Lizo has been one of those senior players who have always provided leadership in both the Currie Cup and the URC. We look forward to him, alongside Stedman Gans as vice-captain, leading this exciting team on Wednesday,” Smal said on Tuesday.

“We are pleased that we are able to give a few of our more youthful players an opportunity this week, be it in the starting line-up or on the bench.

“We have no doubt that we have a tough challenge ahead of us against a Lions team that will be motivated and will be tough opponents on Wednesday night.

“We will need to be at our best and will need to execute the plans we have been working hard on in the build-up to the match well.”

Bulls Team

15 David Kriel 14 Sibongile Novuka 13 Stedman Gans 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren 11 Stravino Jacobs 10 Juan Mostert 9 Bernard van der Linde 8 Muller Uys 7 Werner Gouws 6 WJ Steenkamp 5 Reinhardt Ludwig 4 Raynard Roets 3 Robert Hunt 2 Schalk Erasmus 1 Lizo Gqoboka (captain).

Bench: 16 Joe van Zyl 17 Cebo Dlamini 18 Mornay Smith 19 Ruan Delport 20 Jaco Labuschagne 21 Keagan Johannes 22 Morné Steyn 23 James Verity-Amm.