JOHANNESBURG - Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane, SA ‘A’ wing Travis Ismaiel and Springbok tourist Roelof Smit are the only three changes to the Bulls starting team to play against the Sharks in their Super Rugby derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Nyakane returns to the team after being a late withdrawal ahead of last weekend’s clash against the Stormers due to a neck injury and will replace Conraad van Vuuren.
Ismaiel gets a call-up to the starting team for the first time since the Bulls tour Down Under and will come in place of Divan Rossouw who drops to the bench.
Smit’s elevation to the starting team comes at the expense of Thembelani Bholi, who drops to the bench, with Marco van Staden moving from openside flank to eighthman and Smit starting in his preferred position at number six.
Bulls coach John Mitchell admits that his team needs to get back to winning ways after suffering two consecutive defeats at the hands of the Highlanders and Stormers and is wary of the danger the Sharks pose coming to Loftus.
"We all know what is at stake here. We all understand the long-term vision and strategy, but short-term results are as important," Mitchell said.
"The Sharks have shown how good they can be in dismantling the Highlanders and will come for us, no doubt."
Bulls team: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal (captain), Johnny Kotze, Handre Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Marco van Staden, Jason Jenkins, Roelof Smit, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Frans van Wyk/Nqoba Mxoli, Conraad van Vuuren, Thembelani Bholi, Nic de Jager, Andre Warner, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw.