Border Bulldogs captain Solly Tyibilika has been named among the reserves for Friday night’s Currie Cup first division match against the Pumas at East London’s Absa Stadium.
Border Rugby Football Union general manager Leon Botha said Tyibilika did not return with the team to East London following last Saturday’s match against the Griffons but instead departed for Johannesburg to attend to a “personal problem”.
Bulldogs head coach Humphrey Nojoko said that due to uncertainty regarding Tyibilika’s return, the decision was taken to place him among the reserves.
Fiery lock Andries Kruger, who has a new partner in Blackie Swart due to a rib injury to regular lock Nomani Tonga, now wears the captain’s band.
The Bulldogs, still smarting from their 50-9 hiding by the Griffons, will however be boosted through the return of classy fullback Russell Jeacocks and nuggety centre Thabo Ratyana, both of whom have recovered from injury.
“I’m grateful to Buffaloes for having released Jeffrey Tal jaard to play as he and Thabo (Ratyana) form a formidable centre pair,” said Nojoko.
Buffaloes are to represent Border at the National Club Championships in Stellenbosch starting Sunday. Their opening match is against College Rovers at 10am.
Former Bulldogs loose forward Lubabalo Mzikali has been rewarded for some outstanding performances for Swallows by being selected as eighthman, forming a competent back three with flanks Shaun Raubenheimer and Dumisani Meslani.
There are two main reasons why Friday’s match should be a real toughie. Firstly the Bulldogs beat the Pumas in their own kraal in their first encounter and will look for revenge and secondly, the Pumas are just two points (11) ahead of the Bulldogs, although the Pumas have a game in hand.
It remains a tight race as to who will fill the fourth spot on the log and the Bulldogs’ chances cannot be ruled out just yet provided they win this evening.
*Curtain-raisers: 4pm Border U19 vs Pumas U19, 5.30pm Border U21 vs Pumas U21.
Russell Jeacocks, Jovan Bowles, Jef frey Taljaard, Thabo Ratyana, Ziniko Dumaphi, Tembani Mkokeli, Denver du Plessis, Lubabalo Mzikali, Shaun Rauben heimer, Dumisani Meslani, Andries Kruger (capt), Blackie Swart, Lonwabo Mtimka, Greg van Jaarsveld, Patrick Mu lumba.
Reserves: Siya Mxunyelwa, Buhle Mxunyelwa, Luke Beling, Solly Tyibilika, Luthando Mondliwa, Yongama Mkaza, Lincoln Redcliffe.
Coach: Humphrey Nojoko.
Sapa – CurrieCupRugby.com