Former Lion and Southern Kings front rower Jacobie Adriaanse will earn a 30th cap, but will start at tighthead prop for the Bulls for the first time on Saturday when his team face the Cheetahs in a crucial Super Rugby clash in Pretoria.
The 32-year-old came off the bench four times this year for the Pretoria side, but will earn a first start in place of Trevor Nyakane, who is rested, in one of two changes to the Bulls pack.
In the other, Jason Jenkins will start at lock, swopping places with RG Snyman from last weekend’s starting pack against the Jaguares. Snyman will play off the bench.
Bulls coach Nollis Marais also made an enforced change in his backline.
Jan Serfontein is being rested as per Saru agreement, resulting in Jesse Kriel moving into the number 13 jersey. Warrick Gelant slots into the fullback position, with Duncan Naude coming onto the bench in the match day 23.
“It is a very, very important match for us,” said Marais.
“We need to keep on building from last weekend, not only on improving on the good things we did, but also to make sure that winning feeling becomes an addictive one. We need to prove that the win over the Jaguares was the tipping point for us. We always believed we were a better team than the results showed, but we now have another opportunity to go out and prove it.”
Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, is not expecting any favours from the Toyota Cheetahs, whom he represented 97 times in this competition.
“This will be a massive game. They have the belief that they can beat us and to be honest, have the players to do that if we don’t pitch. Any South African derby match is huge, and I know how much it means for them to beat the Bulls. We must prepare for a total onslaught and will have to tackle as if our lives depend on it.. But saying that, I can’t wait and I know the team feels the same way.”
Strauss will play in his 138th match in Super Rugby, a South African record for a hooker.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Marnus Schoeman/Jacques Potgieter, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman/Francois Brummer, 23 Franco Naude