Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named two strong teams to play in their Super Rugby warm up matches against the Lions Vodacom Cup side and the Stormers at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.
The coach has included recent recruits, Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs) and Jacques-Louis Potgieter (France), in the team that will face the Lions in the early match of the day, but made it clear that not much must be read into his selections for these two warm-up matches.
The much anticipated return of Victor Matfield will not happen this weekend as he has been held back for the time being as his third daughter was born earlier this morning.
"To have almost everyone fit and able ahead of our first match is great and we need to thank our medical staff for that. It does give the coaching staff the luxury of trying different combinations and that is exactly what we will be looking for in Polokwane, " Ludeke said.
"I would like to see both teams playing to our patterns, as this will make it easier to decide which players will suit our style best ahead of the season opener next month. To be successful in Super Rugby, you need a squad though, so I will be looking at both matches with equal interest, " the coach said.
"The players understand the squad principle and all is keen to contribute towards achieving our goal of winning the 2014 tournament. "
Coach Frans Ludeke, who grew up in Polokwane, had a luxury of a fit squad and bar prop Morne Mellett, could name particular combinations for the matches against the Stormers and the Golden Lions Vodacom Cup teams.
He is also pleased to be back in his old stomping ground.
"We appreciate the effort off everyone involved in bringing the game to Polokwane, as we try to bring the team to our fans where possible. One can expect early season jitters, but hopefully we can give the spectators good value for their money."
The Bulls team to play the Golden Lions at 15h00 is:
Clayton Blommetjies, Travis Ismaiel, William Small-Smith, Ulrich Beyers, Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard, Piet van Zyl, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jacques du Plessis, Jono Ross, David Bulbring, Paul Willemse, Frik Kirsten, Bongi Mbonambi, Marcel vd Merwe.
Replacements: Bandise Maku, Juan Schoeman, Hencus van Wyk, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Wiaan Liebenberg, Rudy Paige, Tian Schoeman, Waylon Murray, Ryan Nell, Jacques-Louis Potgieter.
The Bulls team to play the Stormers at 17h00 is:
Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Louis Fouche, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies (c), Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann, Grant Hattingh, Flip vd Merwe, Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Bandise Maku, Marcel vd Merwe, Hencus van Wyk, Jono Ross, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Ulrich Beyers