Bulls Super Rugby head coach Nollis Marais has named his team to play the Sharks in Durban on Friday and included the incumbent Springbok midfield combination of Jesse Kriel and Jan Serfontein.
Marais has also given a first start to winger Kefentse Mahlo and prop Conraad van Vuuren as the competition continues again after the June break.
Mahlo takes over from Kriel, who moves to outside centre, while Serfontein will wear the 12 jersey for only the second time this season.
Serfontein and Kriel played in together in two of the three Springbok test matches in the recent Series against France.
Regular inside centre, Burger Odendaal, who played at no 12 against the Hurricanes late last month, moves to the bench.
Van Vuuren, who has made three appearances offthe bench, starts in his first match in place of Trevor Nyakane, who was ruled out, while John-Roy Jenkinson will take Van Vuuren’s bench duties.
Marais also opted to start Tony Jantjies at flyhalf, with the former Junior Springbok running out in the starting team for the first time after three consecutive appearances off the bench.
Tian Schoeman, who started against the Hurricanes, moves to the bench.
Marais made two changes to the starting pack. Nick de Jager is promoted off the bench and will start at no8 in place of injured Hanro
Liebenberg, with Renaldo Bothma and Shaun Adendorff coming onto the bench as lock and loose forward cover.
RG Snyman is also available again following his suspension and will combine with Jason Jenkins with Lood de Jager been ruled out.
Andre Warner could make his debut for the teamafter being named back-up scrumhalf with Ivan van Zyl not available.
Marais was excited about the resumption of thetournament.
“We have a lot to play for still. The guys want to finish the season strong and as you can expect from a local derby, will be desperate to win this one against the Sharks, so we are pretty keen to get going again. Our Springboks are in good nick and the rest of the guys are well rested and full of energy and enthusiasm,” he said.
“I am pleased for Kefentse, he has been playing some good rugby this year and he will do well at this level, no doubt.”
Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, said the team is experienced enough to handle the pressure in the Shark Tank.
“We have one or two new faces, but generally, we have enough experience and talent to produce a very competitive performance.
The Sharks are a quality outfit, no doubt and has been pretty hard to break down this year, especially in Durban, but we have some ideas on how to beat them.
Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Jesse Kriel , Jan Serfontein , Kefentse Mahlo , Tony Jantjies, Rudy Paige, Nic de Jager, Jannes Kirsten Ruan Steenkamp , RG Snyman , Jason Jenkins, Conraad van Vuuren ,Adriaan Strauss (c), Lizo Gqoboka,
Replacements: Jaco Visagie,Pierre Schoeman, John-Roy Jenkinson,, Renaldo Bothma ,, Shaun Adendorff, Andre Warner ,Burger Odendaal ,Tian Schoeman