After such a mauling at Loftus Versfeld, Blue Bulls coach Pote Human had to roll the dice in his team selection for Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province at Newlands.
And the combination he has come up with, especially in the backline, is an indication that he wants the Bulls to take WP on physically. following last week’s 34-7 defeat in just one half of rugby.
Powerful Blitzbok star Dylan Sage will continue his journey back in 15-man rugby by starting at outside centre against the team he played some age-group rugby for.
Sage is all of 1.87m and 87kg, and his direct battle with his erstwhile Springbok Sevens teammate and WP No 13 Ruhan Nel will be one to watch at Newlands.
He will look to provide some cut and thrust on the attack, and also organise the defence in what should be good conditions for rugby.
“I really believe he can bring something different. He is a good rugby player, and he can be a special player, with the X-factor, so that is why we are giving him a chance in such a big game.
“He impressed me in that Namibian President’s XV game, so I really believe and have the faith in him that he will produce on Saturday,” Human said at the team announcement.
Duncan Matthews is also a threat with ball-in-hand, and he will start at right wing ahead of Jamba Ulengo.
The front row that took a hammering at the hands of WP last week has had a change as well, with Springbok Trevor Nyakane moving to loosehead and Dayan van der Westhuizen coming in at No 3.
Human is still deciding whether to go with an extra prop on the bench, between Frans van Wyk and Conrad de Beer, or an extra backline player.
Blue Bulls Team
15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hendré Stassen, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Bench (one player to drop out): 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Conrad de Beer, 19 Ruan Nortjé, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Franco Naude, 24 André Warner.