Returning Springboks Jano Vermaak and Jacques Potgieter has been included in the Vodacom Blue Bulls team that will play the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in an Absa Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Vermaak will play at scrumhalf and Potgieter will form part of a new loose trio combination that also includes Arno Botha, who returns from injury.
Potgieter replaces CJ Stander, who will play off the bench, while Botha replaces Warwick Tecklenburg, who is rested.
Mornè Mellett replaces the injured Dawie Steyn for his first involvement in the 2012 season in the other change to the pack that will also see Franco Mostert in the run-on side in place of Grant Hattingh, who is injured.
Vermaak’s inclusion in place of Rudy Paige is one of three changes at the back. Sampie Mastriet will make his debut on the wing, while JJ Engelbrecht moves to outside centre, with Ulrich Beyers dropping to the bench.
Bjorn Basson was not considered due to a family bereavement.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar admitted that his side has no option left but to win.
“Our task is a simple one. We have to win every match from here on in if we want to play in the semi-finals. Everyone understands that and accepts the fact that we only have ourselves to blame for this. It is great to have the likes of Jano and Jacques back and I am sure their experience will be very valuable on the weekend.”
Vodacom Blue Bulls captain, Dewald Potgieter, admitted that they have their backs to the wall.
“There are no second chances left. We have to turn this season around and justify all the hard work that we put in and reward the faith that has been placed in us,” Potgieter said.
The team is: Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Francois Venter, Sampie Mastriet, Louis Fouchè, Jano Vermaak, Arno Botha, Jacques Potgieter, Dewald Potgieter (c), Franco Mostert, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Werner Kruger, Willie Wepener, Mornè Mellett. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Frik Kirsten, Cornell Hess, CJ Stander, Ruan Snyman, Lionel Cronjè, Ulrich Beyers.