Champions Cup – Vodacom Bulls Name Team To Host Union Bordeaux Bègles


The Vodacom Bulls have one final Pool 1 hurdle in the form of Union Bordeaux Bègles as the Tshwane outfit eyes a spot in the top 16 of the 2023/24 Investec Champions Cup. The two teams will go head-to-head in round 4 of the group stage with plenty to play for as the points margin separating the top is between 3 and 5 points.

The Pool topping French outfit visits Loftus with a 5-point gap at the top whilst the hosts are hot on their heels with just Lyon in 2nd place, 2 points ahead. Bristol lies in 4th place with 5 points, meaning the top four spots (which guarantee progression into the knockout phase) aren’t quite decided yet.

This makes the Saturday 20 January meeting a mouth-watering clash between two sides who will leave nothing to chance. Kick-off is at 15h00pm.

Jake White (Director of Rugby) has made some changes to his matchday squad, with Mornay Smith coming into the front row at tight-head in place of injured Wilco Louw. Smith will front up alongside Gerhard Steenekamp (loose-head) and Jan-Hendrik Wessels at hooker. Behind the trio will be Reinhardt Ludwig and Ruan Nortje at lock.

Marcell Coetzee will marshal the troops from blind-side flank with Mpilo Gumede on the open-side. Cameron Hanekom returns to matchday duties and slots in at eight.

The services of half-back duo, Embrose Papier (scrum-half) and Johan Goosen (fly-half) have been retained. Behind them, there is a shuffle of positioning with Devon Williams moving from the back to left wing, pairing up with Sebastian de Klerk on the right side of the park. David Kriel returns to inside centre as Stedman Gans partners up with him this week on his right. Willie le Roux also returns to the matchday squad and will start at fullback.

The herd will have the services of Simphiwe Matanzima, Akker van der Merwe, Khutha Mchunu, JF van Heerden, Elrigh Louw, Keagan Johannes, Jaco van der Walt and the ever-colourful Cornal Hendricks on the impact squad.

Vodacom Bulls: 1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 3. Mornay Smith, 4. Reinhardt Ludwig, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marcell Coetzee (c), 7. Mpilo Gumede, 8. Cameron Hanekom, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. Devon Williams, 12. David Kriel, 13. Stedman Gans, 14. Sebastian de Klerk, 15. Willie le Roux. Replacements: 16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Akker van der Merwe, 18. Khutha Mchunu, 19. JF van Heerden, 20. Elrigh Louw, 21. Keagan Johannes, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. Cornal Hendricks.