Nineteen year old loose forward Arno Botha will make his run-on debut in the Absa Currie Cup competition on Friday when the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on Griquas in one of four changes to the starting line-up of the side that won against the Pumas last weekend.
Botha, who led the national u.20 side at the Junior World Cup in Italy earlier this year, made his Currie Cup debut last weekend and will earn a first start in place of Dewald Potgieter, who captained the side in Nelspruit.
Potgieter was ruled out due to injury.
Warwick Tecklenburg, who debuted off the bench against Western Province a couple of weeks ago, is also earning a first start, with the Tukkies fetcher replacing Deon Stegmann, who has been ruled out for a month due to a cheekbone injury.
Gary Botha takes over the captaincy and the number two jersey vacated by Chiliboy Ralepelle’s Springbok call-up. Willie Wepener slots in as replacement hooker.
In another change, 20 year old Louis Fouché swops jerseys with Marnitz Boshoff at flyhalf, with the 21 year old moving to the bench.
Another 20 year old, Jono Ross, will make his Currie Cup debut if called upon from the bench.
With regards to his selection of the Young Turks, Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar insisted that the future is as important in his vision as the now.
“The Currie Cup competition is not the platform for experiments, but a very tough one to test the mettle of younger players. We expect of these younger players to play a big role in the future of the team and the sooner we have peace of mind that they can make the necessary step-up, the better and the quicker we can move forward.”
Pienaar insisted that only an improved performance by his troops will give justice to the victory in Nelspruit.
“We still have hard work ahead of us and a long way to go and one victory does not suddenly change that. Griquas will be very positive after some good wins in recent weeks and we will be on the very top of our game to beat them. It is also a home game and victories in these are non-negotiable.”
Captain Botha agreed that the team have a massive challenge ahead, not only for the weekend, but the season.
“We are still nowhere close to where we need to be on the log neither are we to the standards we have set out for ourselves. The match against Griquas gives us the perfect opportunity to take another forward step towards those goals. Griquas will also provide a very stern test to show if we are indeed moving in the right direction,” Botha said.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to play Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday August 19th, 2011 at 17h05 is:
Jurgen Visser, Bjorn Basson, Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier, Akona Ndungane, Louis Fouché, Jano Vermaak, CJ Stander, Warwick Tecklenburg, Arno Botha, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Gary Botha (c), Dean Greyling. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Rossouw de Klerk, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Jono Ross, Dustin Jinka, Marnitz Boshoff, Francois Venter.