Jason Jenkins will start at lock for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Saturday’s Currie Cup final against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Jenkins replaces the injured RG Snyman in the only change to the starting team that edged DHL Western Province in thesemifinal last week.
His place on the bench will be taken by Nic de Jager.
Ulrich Beyers also recovered in time from his shoulder knock and has been declared fit to start at fullback.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais confirmed the team’s determination to bring the Currie Cup back to Pretoria for the first time since 2009, but admitted that it will take a massive effort against the high-flying hosts.
“Let me make it clear, we back ourselves to win. The reality of the matter though is that we are facing a team that is undefeated and playing great rugby. And they play in front of a packed stadium with supporters. So it is not going to be easy, but we have to do it the hard way, which is great.”
Marais points to the fact that they were outplayed when they travelled to Bloemfontein earlier in the season, but since then the Blue Bulls gained significant momentum.
“No doubt, we have improved a lot since that day and that is a good thing. We have nice form, but as you know, finals rugby is all about what you deliver on the day.”
Vodacom Blue Bulls captain Arno Botha feels the same.
“It is going to be a very simple equation. The team who plays best during that 80 minutes will win the match and the Currie Cup. We both start at 0-0, so it is up to us to deliver. Yes, it will be tough playing in front of the Cheetahs fans, but they deserved the right tohost the final.”
The loose forward expects a tight match. “South African derbies tend to be tough and uncompromising and seeing that we are playing for the ultimate prize in domestic rugby, this one will be evenmore so. We are determined though to reward our hard work during the season and to reward our fans with a performance we all can be proud of.”
The team is: Ulrich Beyers, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman, Rudy Paige, Arno Botha (c), Jannes Kirsten, Roelof Smit, Marvin Orie, Jason Jenkins, Jacobie Adriaanse, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Martin Dreyer, Pierre Schoeman, Nic de Jager, Hanro Liebenberg, Piet van Zyl, Joshua Stander, Bjorn Basson