CAPE TOWN – Bulls coach John Mitchell pulled a surprise by picking lock Jason Jenkins at flank for Saturday’s clash against the Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld (5.15pm kickoff).
In a reshuffled loose trio, Jenkins will wear the No 7 jersey to bring extra bulk, while Thembelani Bholi will shift from the side of the scrum to No 8, from where fetcher Marco van Staden will go back to No 6.
Van Staden will fill the boots of Roelof Smit, who is out with a head injury after failing his head injury assessment test.
Suspended prop Pierre Schoeman is replaced by Springbok tourist Lizo Gqoboka, who makes a welcome start after hardly featuring this season.
The backline is unchanged from the team that beat the Rebels 28-10 last weekend, but Mitchell knows that the high-riding Highlanders will present a very different and tougher test.
The men from Dunedin are on a two-match winning streak, having beaten the Blues in Auckland last week and the Brumbies at home a week earlier.
“They have won four of their last five matches against us, so they will have some confidence on how to approach this match,” Mitchell said on Thursday.
“They have delivered some strong performances as well during the year. That makes for a proper contest and a very good test on our progress.
“We are improving and that is nice, but we need to improve week by week.”
Bulls team: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Divan Rossouw, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Thembelani Bholi, 7 Jason Jenkins, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Hendré Stassen, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Travis Ismaiel.