The coach of the Vodacom Blue Bulls, Frans Ludeke, has included Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies and Bryan Habana in his starting XV for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup semi-final against the WP at Newlands.
Du Preez resumes his halfback partnership with Morné Steyn and Habana, who struggled with tendons in his upper hamstring, is back in his number 11 jumper in a back three with Zane Kirchner and Francois Hougaard.
Spies had some trouble with finger ligaments but he has made a full recovery and takes over from Danie Rossouw at number 8.
Ludeke said at the weekly press conference which was held at Loftus on Tuesday that the Bulls are in a privileged position to have so many Springboks available and he added that Rossouw will have a vitally important role to play in the last 30 minutes.
“Danie has been playing excellent rugby throughout the season and he will be called upon to do something special in the last 30 minutes.”
Ludeke said that the Bulls need to be on the top of their game in the set pieces at Newlands and he is expecting something very similar to test rugby come Saturday.
“It is not without reason that the WP almost finished on top of the log.
“They have been playing quality rugby throughout the season and I expect them to follow a very tactical approach against us.
“The WP would like to stay out of their own half and once they are in our half they are going to try and put us under immense pressure, but we are ready for whatever they throw at us.
“We need to play for the full 80 minutes and we must continue to create try scoring opportunities. We also need to protect our possession better than in the previous two games.”
The captain Victor Matfield said that it doesn’t really matter whether it rain or not at Newlands, because the Blue Bulls have learned over the last few season to quickly adapt to any circumstances.
“Our game plan stays mostly the same in dry and wet conditions and our focus will only be to win the match.
“The only thing that matters is the 80 minutes on the field and we are not going to worry about the weather or the hostile crowd. We’ve got a job to do and we will not bother about the things that we can’t control.
“We have cut out all the hype and we are not going to look beyond Saturday’s match.
“We have put in some hard work to reach the semi-finals and hopefully it goes our way. We believe in ourselves and if we play to our potential, we can make it.”
Vodacom Blue Bulls: Zane Kirchner; Francois Hougaard, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (captain), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kuün, Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Reserves: Bandise Maku, Rossouw de Klerk, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, Gerhard van den Heever.