PRETORIA – The Bulls have called in reinforcements to get their Super Rugby campaign back on track, with coach Pote Human making eight changes to the starting XV to face the visiting Reds on Saturday, including the return of six Springboks.
While the Bulls welcome the return of influential captain Handre Pollard and Jesse Kriel, they have to sacrifice Duane Vermeulen to World Cup protocols at the same time.
The game of musical chairs among the Bulls locks continues, as Bok second-rower RG Snyman makes his first appearance this season.
Snyman comes in for the injured Jason Jenkins, and will be packing down next to Jannes Kirsten.
Hanro Liebenberg shifts from lock to flank, while hooker Jaco Visagie earns a starting berth in place of Corniel Els
Paul ‘Tier’ Schoeman replaces Vermeulen at No 8, while Marco van Staden will also make his season debut.
New recruit Wiehahn Herbst, a former Sharks tighthead prop, could make his debut for the Bulls playing off the bench weeks after he joined the side from Ulster.
The Bulls backline will be bolstered by the return of Warrick Gelant at fullback, giving them more attacking options against the Reds this weekend.
The Reds will be heading to Loftus with their tails up after they beat the Stormers last weekend.
The Australian team will fancy their chances of claiming another South African scalp, considering the Bulls’ last two performances at their home ground.
The Bulls suffered a heavy defeat to the Chiefs, and let it slip against the Jaguares last weekend.
Human said he expected an all-out battle and was expecting a “15-man” approach from the visiting side.
“They will come with the forwards, and they have good quality and skilful backs, so they will try to run us off our feet,” Human said.
“We have to finish; there were so many opportunities last week that we didn’t take.”
The Bulls coach said the return of Pollard as the team’s conductor is a boost as they hope to produce a symphony instead of a cacophony like they did against the Chiefs and Jaguares.
With only four home games left in their campaign, Human said his charges could not afford any more slip-ups.
“Fortunately we won two away games, but there is always pressure on us as we want to win in front of our supporters,” Human said.
“We will stick to our processes, and the scoreboard will look after itself.
“If we can just play to our abilities, we can put up a good show on Saturday.”
Warrick Gelant, Johnny Kotze, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Jade Stighling, Handre Pollard (captain), Ivan van Zyl, Paul Schoeman, Hanro Liebenberg, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman, Jannes Kirsten, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka.
Bench: Corniel Els, Simphiwe Matanzima, Wiehahn Herbst, Thembelani Bholi, Roelof Smit, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw.@ockertde