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Els makes first Bulls Super rugby start against Jaguares

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Bulls Super rugby head coach Pote Human has named Corniel Els to make his first Super rugby start this weekend against the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld.

The hooker, who played all six Super Rugby matches for the Bulls off the bench, will replace Schalk Brits, who misses out due to suspension.

The 25-year old former Junior Springbok is one of seven changes to the starting team named by Head Coach, Pote Human, for the clash against the South Americans.

Handré Pollard and Jesse Kriel will be rested due to World Cup protocols and will be replaced by Manie Libbok and Dylan Sage respectively, with Duane Vermeulen taking over the captaincy.

Jade Stighling will also play in the starting team for the first time this year, taking over from Rosko Specman, with Johnny Kotze on the other wing and Cornal Hendricks dropping to the bench.

In a positional change, Hanro Liebenberg moves back to lock in place of Jason Jenkins, who has a niggle and was ruled out on Wednesday.

Jannes Kirsten will start at flank and his place on the bench will be taken by Thembelani Bholi.

There are more changes to the bench as well, where Jaco Visagie is due to make a first appearance in the tournament this season. Visagie is fit again following injury and will be keen to have a go. JT Jackson will cover as flyhalf and comes onto the bench.

Human said the squad prepared well and is keen to continue their winning momentum against a dangerous opponent.

“The Jaguares are very, very competitive and have shown that they can win away from home. We will be looking for some consistency in performance and we need to play better when at home, as we have some of the best home support in the competition. We have rested some players, but the new guys are all very keen to make a contribution and I expect a massive effort from all of them.”

For new Bulls captain, Duane Vermeulen, the challenge will be as much coming from the opponents as themselves.

“We were way under par when we last played them so we owe ourselves a proper performance against the Jaguares. It is nothing personal, but we would love to get one over them this time. The South African conference is so tight, we cannot afford another slip-up at home.”

Bulls

15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hanro Liebenberg 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Cornal Hendricks

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