PRETORIA – Bulls coach John Mitchell has made one change to his team to play against the Melbourne Rebels with Roelof Smit replacing the injured Hanro Lienbeberg in the loose trio.
Liebenberg underwent a knee operation on Wednesday and will be out for almost two months. Tim Agaba and Nic de Jager have to work their way back to the side after Agaba participated at the Commonwealth Games for the Springbok Sevens and De Jager has just returned from injury.
Smit’s elevation to the starting team will see him play at number six with Thembelani Bholi retaining his place at blindside flank while Marco van Staden moves to number eight.
Mitchell said it is important to keep the same team for continuity and ensuring that they build on the consecutive wins against the Stormers and Sharks.
“It’s always good to stick with continuity in a group. It builds familiarisation, it keeps people in sync and also builds confidence and cohesion,” Mitchell said.
But Mitchell is more wary of the different opposition they will face in the Rebels and what it is they will need to do.
“The challenge this week is a different opposition with different threats so as long as the group has got the detail that is the important thing to realize."
"The Rebels are a good side and they are where they are because of their ability to attack well and are second top try scorers in the competition,” said Mitchell.
The Bulls team is:
Warrick Gelant, Johnny Kotze, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Divan Rossouw, Handre Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Marco van Staden, Thembelani Bholi, Roelof Smit, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss, Pierre Schoeman.
Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka, Frans van Wyk, Jason Jenkins, Shaun Adendorff, Andre Warner, Manie Libbok, Duncan Matthews.