Vodacom Bulls Need To Make A Statement Against Lyon At “Fortress” Loftus


The Vodacom Bulls have named a team featuring a number of lesser-known players for their Heineken Champions Cup opener against French club Lyon in Pretoria on Saturday, with Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn named captain.

Lyon are back in the Heineken Champions Cup after lifting the EPCR Challenge Cup last season.

Lyon currently sit sixth in the TOP 14, picking seven wins in their opening 12 games, while Vodacom Bulls’ second season in the URC has seen them win seven from nine, leaving them second as it stands.

Jake White, the Vodacom Bulls’ Director of Rugby, named a total new starting team from the one that beat Cardiff in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship last weekend, opting to rest a number of his star players.

Wandisile Simelane will start at fullback with Sibongile Novuka and Stravino Jacobs on the wings, while Stedman Gans and Marco Jansen van Vuren will patrol the midfield.

The experienced Steyn will start at flyhalf, with the exciting Bernard van der Linde named at scrumhalf.

Upfront, Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp and Nizaam Carr will form an exciting loose trio combination, with Jacques du Plessis making a return from injury to start at lock alongside Reinhardt Ludwig. Jacques van Rooyen, Bismarck du Plessis and Dylan Smith are in the front row.

“When this month started I said that we are going to be very clever about how we manage the players,” said White.

“It’s just turned out that a couple of Springboks came back and needed some time off. Some guys have worked really hard to get a game and I just felt it is a home game and it is a good opportunity for some boys who have pushed really hard to get a start.

“There are three Springboks, five or six guys who won a Currie Cup Final, two guys played in a Super Rugby Final three times, so there is enough experience there.”


Vodacom Bulls: 15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morne Steyn (captain), 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Muller Uys, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Sebastian Lombard, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Keegan Johannes, 22 Chris Smit, 23 Juan Mostert.

Lyon: 15. Leo Berdeu, 14. Ethan Dumortier, 13. Tavite Veredamu, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Noa Nakaitaci, 10. Fletcher Smith, 9. Jean-Marc Doussain (c), 8. Arno Botha, 7. Mickael Guillard, 6. Dylan Cretin, 5. Romain Taofifenua, 4. Felix Lambey, 3. Paulo Tafili, 2. Liam Coltman, 1. Jérôme Rey. Replacements: 16. Guillaume Marchand, 17. Hamza Kaabèche, 18. Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19. Theo William, 20. Loann Goujon, 21. Jonathan Pélissié, 22. Xavier Mignot, 23. Alexandre Tchaptchet.