Schalk Brits is finally back for the Bulls after serving a four-match ban, and he has gone straight into the starting line-up for Friday’s blockbuster clash against the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld.
Brits, who turns 38 in just over a week’s time, has been sidelined following his ‘fight’ with Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe at Kings Park in March.
His comeback coincides with that of another Springbok in Jason Jenkins, which is just in time against a Crusaders unit who are masters of poaching opposition lineout throws.
Jenkins partners RG Snyman in the second row, which sees the tall Jannes Kirsten move to blindside flank for the injured Hanro Liebenberg from the team that started in the 28-21 over the Waratahs last week.
With Duane Vermeulen at No 8, Brits should have more than enough options to combat the likes of Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read on Friday (7.10pm kickoff).
“Schalk has been itching to play for the last couple of weeks, and he will be very keen. Jason also recovered well and looked very sharp in training,” Bulls coach Pote Human said on Tuesday.
“Both are players of international standard, so it is great to have them back. Our pack will need to step up to the plate if we want to contain the Crusaders, and these two are certainly capable of adding to that.”
Among the backs, Andre Warner is given a rare start at No 9, with Embrose Papier back on the bench, as Ivan van Zyl sits out.
Burger Odendaal is fit again too, so Dylan Sage misses out, with Johnny Kotze at outside centre.
15 Warrick Gelant 14 Cornal Hendricks 13 Johnny Kotze 12 Burger Odendaal 11 Rosko Specman 10 Handre Pollard (captain) 9 Andre Warner 8 Duane Vermeulen 7 Jannes Kirsten 6 Marco van Staden 5 RG Snyman 4 Jason Jenkins 3 Trevor Nyakane 2 Schalk Brits 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Bench: 16 Jaco Visagie 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Wiehahn Herbst 19 Thembelani Bholi 20 Paul Schoeman 21 Embrose Papier 22 Manie Libbok 23 Divan Rossouw.