Toyota Cheetahs To Host Vodacom Bulls In An Expected Physical Battle

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The Toyota Cheetahs will host the Vodacom Bulls in Bloemfontein in the second round of Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked on Friday @ 19h00.

The Cheetahs are currently leading the competition log after a bonus-point win (53-31) against the Pumas in Round 1 of the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked competition last weekend. The Bulls are currently in the 3rd position after a struggling 30-23 win against the Griquas.

The only change Hawies Fourie (head coach) made to his team was on the bench, where Jacques du Toit came in for Louis van der Westhuizen as the new replacement hooker, which was a case of “horses for courses” according to Corniel van Zyl, assistant coach of the Toyota Cheetahs.

“We wanted some continuity as the players are still getting used to playing with each other and to match situations after the lockdown period, so it was an easy decision to keep the team unchanged,” said Van Zyl.

“The Bulls will bring different challenges (to the Pumas) and we’re expecting a very physical match – we will have to play as we did in the first half last weekend (when they led 41-3) for the full 80 minutes on Friday.

“A lot will depend on how our pack plays and hopefully we can dominate, but we’re expecting the same from the Bulls, and I’m convinced that if our forwards can lay a good foundation and secure good ball for our backs, we can do what we need to.”

Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White, has made five changes to his starting team for Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked clash with the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, with Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen back to lead the Bulls.

White also selected inside centre, Clinton Swart, for his Vodacom Bulls debut against the Free Staters, whom he represented a few seasons ago.

Vermeulen will start in his familiar No 8 jersey, with Tim Agaba getting a rest this week, while Johan Grobbelaar gets to start at hooker.

Embrose Papier replaces his fellow Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl in the No 9 jersey, while Jade Stighling slots in on the left-wing in place of Travis Ismaiel.

Swart’s inclusion means a few tweaks to the Vodacom Bulls’ midfield, with Cornal Hendricks moving to outside centre and Stedman Gans joining Van Zyl on the bench.

Another change to the bench sees U21 star Joe van Zyl set to receive his first senior cap if he is called upon, while Gerhard Steenekamp replaces the injured Lizo Gqoboka, who sustained a calf injury against the Tafel Lager Griquas.

Nizaam Carr is the final change amongst the replacements with the Springbok loose forward coming in for Elrigh Louw.

“We struggled to get going against the Griquas and we cannot afford the same against a strong Cheetahs team,” said White.

“We were fortunate to walk away with last week's win and we need to do better by implementing our style of play in this clash as soon as possible.”

Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Chris Massyn, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 William Small-Smith.

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 David Kriel, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Stedman Gans.