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Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback as Jake White shakes up Bulls backline for Sharks showdown

FILE - Kurt-Lee Arendse of the Bulls.Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

FILE - Kurt-Lee Arendse of the Bulls.Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Published Dec 2, 2021


Cape Town – Jake White has decided to shake up the Bulls backline quite considerably, with the stand-out selection being Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback for Friday’s United Rugby Championship showdown with the Sharks in Durban.

White moved Arendse from his regular left-wing berth to No 15 when he named his match-23 on Thursday, with first-choice fullback David Kriel shifted to outside centre.

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Kriel’s size makes him a formidable ball-carrier on attack in midfield, and he has operated at No 13 before in his career, so he won’t be totally unfamiliar with the position.

Kriel will have the toughest of tasks at Kings Park (7pm kickoff), though, as he has to mark Springbok star Lukhanyo Am, who will captain the Sharks.

Arendse is a brilliant finisher out wide, but the move to fullback will undoubtedly bring him into the game more often as he will get his hands on the ball regularly, and he could prove to be a lethal runner on the counter-attack.

The major challenge for the former Blitzboks star will be to handle the up-and-unders that are sure to come raining down from the Durbanites inside his own 22.

With Arendse at the back, David Kriel’s younger brother Richard, who is normally a fullback, fills in at left wing.

There is a welcome return from a long-term injury for scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who will try to dictate terms alongside veteran flyhalf Morné Steyn.

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ALSO READ: Bulls vs Sharks: It’s almost like we’re playing the Springboks, says Jake White

In the pack, following the departure of Trevor Nyakane to French club Racing 92 earlier this week, former UCT Varsity Cup tighthead Robert Hunt gets a shot in the No 3 jersey, while Walt Steenkamp is reunited with Ruan Nortjé at lock.

White will also be glad to have hooker Johan Grobbelaar amongst the reserves after he toured with the Springboks in Australia during the Rugby Championship, while lock Sintu Manjezi returns from his long-term injury as well.

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Bulls Team

15 Kurt-Lee Arendse 14 Madosh Tambwe 13 David Kriel 12 Cornal Hendricks 11 Richard Kriel 10 Morné Steyn 9 Embrose Papier 8 Elrigh Louw 7 Arno Botha 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain) 5 Ruan Nortjé 4 Walt Steenkamp 3 Robert Hunt 2 Bismarck du Plessis 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.

Bench: 16 Johan Grobbelaar 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Lizo Gqoboka 19 Jacques du Plessis 20 Sintu Manjezi 21 Zak Burger 22 Chris Smith 23 Harold Vorster.

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