Preview – Bulls Set To Cruise To An Easy Win Over Griquas?


The Vodacom Bulls will host Tafel Lager Griquas in the last match of the opening round of the Super Rugby Unlocked competition at Loftus Versfeld today at 19h00. The Bulls comes into this competition as the hot favourites after the great win over the Sharks two weeks ago.

The last time the men from Kimberley travelled to Pretoria was in the 2019 Currie Cup, when they upset the hosts at Loftus Versfeld by 37-15, and Mathie will no doubt be very happy if Tafel Lager Griquas can repeat that feat on Saturday.

Experienced loose forward Arno Botha will lead a Vodacom Bulls team jam-packed with Springboks, Blitzboks and Junior Springbok talent.

Botha, who has returned to Pretoria after stints in England and Ireland, takes over from regular skipper Duane Vermeulen, who picked a slight knee niggle last weekend and is been rested as a precaution.

The backline remains relatively unchanged from the Vodacom Super Fan Saturday team that was triumphant against the Cell C Sharks two weeks ago.

The only change sees the fleet-footed David Kriel starting on the left-wing as he makes his debut for the Vodacom Bulls.

Springboks Gio Aplon, Cornal Hendricks, Travis Ismaiel, Morné Steyn and Ivan van Zyl are expected to shine on game day as their collective experience and ability to break the defensive line will be a cornerstone on the attack.

Amongst the forwards, Blitzbok Tim Agaba starts at no.8 where he links up with Springbok flankers Botha and Marco van Staden while locks Jason Jenkins and Ruan Nortje continue their partnership in the second row. Regular skipper Duane Vermeulen picked a slight knee niggle last weekend and is been rested as a precaution.

The front row will be propped up by the forever smiling World Cup winning prop, Trevor Nyakane and Vodacom Super Rugby stalwart Jacques ‘Policeman’ van Rooyen, who will also be making his Vodacom Bulls debut.

The bench is no different in terms of explosive talent with Springbok prop Lizo Gqoboka and Junior Springbok Johan Grobbelaar at hooker eager to return to action after injury layoffs, while lock Sintu Manjezi, flank Elrigh Louw and flyhalf Chris Smith are also set to make their Vodacom Super Rugby debuts.

“It’s been months of preparation and weeks of training with the players and management excited to get going. We have a mission, we’ve set high standards and now is the time for the Vodacom Bulls to stamp their authority on this competition,” said Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.

“The experience amongst our players allows us to implement our game plan quickly and with a solid foundation. I’m extremely excited for all the players making their debuts and looking forward to watching them grow,” he added.

Meanwhile, the experienced George Whitehead will lead Tafel Lager Griquas’ charge. They travel to Pretoria to face the Vodacom Bulls. The team from the Northern Cape have named three co-captains for the season in Whitehead, who will take the lead when he plays, as well as Zandre Jordaan and Monde Hadebe.

Vodacom Bulls: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Travis Ismaiel, 13. Stedman Gans, 12. Cornal Hendricks, 11. David Kriel, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 8. Tim Agaba, 7. Arno Botha (C), 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Jason Jenkins, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Corniel Els, 1. Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16. Johan Grobbelaar, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Sintu Manjezi, 20. Elrigh Louw, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Marco Jansen van Vuren

Griquas : 1. Mox Mxoli, 2. HJ Luus, 3. John-Roy Jenkinson, 4. Ian Groenewald, 5. Victor Sekekete, 6. Carl Els, 7. Stefan Willemse, 
8. Niell Jordaan, 9. Zak Burger, 10. George Whitehead, 11. James Verity-Amm, 12. Andre Swarts, 13. Harlon Klaasen, 14. Daniel Kasende, 15. Anthony Volmink. Replacements: 16. Alandre van Rooyen, 17. Bandisa Ndlovu, 18. Madot Mabokela, 19. Adre Smith, 20. Zandre Jordaan, 21. Gideon van der Merwe, 22. Ashlon Davids, 23. Berton Klaasen, 24. Mzwanele Zito, 25. Johan Momsen, 26. Bjorn Basson.