Venter, who played off the bench for the first three matches in the competition in his debut year in senior rugby, will wear the number 12 jersey for this encounter and partner Stefan Watermeyer in the midfield.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar made numerous changes to the starting line-up that lost to Western Province last weekend, with a host of players returning from Springboks duty and ready for their first Currie Cup action of the year. Injuries to the likes of Jurgen Visser, Gerhard van den Heever and Wynand Olivier impacted on his selections as well.
Zane Kirchner and Bjorn Basson join the action at full back and left wing respectively, while Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Dean Greyling will provide some grunt up front. Deon Stegmann will play off the bench.
Ralepelle will start at hooker, with regular captain, Gary Botha, moving to the bench. This means that will Dewald Potgieter captains the side for the first time this season.
CJ Stander will also start at the back of the scrum in a re-jigged loose trio.
“It is great to have some familiar faces back as this will give us a lot of confidence in this crucial game at home,” Pienaar said.
“Individually, all those players will bring a lot to our effort, but we will still need to play as a team if we want to be successful,” Pienaar warned.
“The Lions are not the frontrunners for nothing.”
Potgieter said the captaincy is a huge honour, but not the main focus on his mind.
“We need to get some consistency and momentum in our performances. It will be important to make sure all of us are pulling in the same direction in achieving that.”
The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to play the Golden Lions is:
Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, Stefan Watermeyer, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Francois Brümmer, Dustin Jinka, CJ Stander, Dewald Potgieter (c), Derick Kuün, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Gary Botha, Rossouw de Klerk, Fudge Mabeta, Deon Stegmann, Lohan Jacobs, Marnitz Boshoff, Stephan Dippenaar.