Burger Odendaal (Gallo Images)
Auckland – Bulls coach Pote Human has named his team for Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Blues at Eden Park.
Kick-off is at 09:35 (SA time).
Human has named scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl and flanker Marco van Staden in his starting team, with centre Burger Odendaal taking the captain’s armband.
Van Zyl takes over from Andre Warner and Van Staden comes in at flank for Paul Schoeman, who moves to No 8 in place of Duane Vermeulen, who was injured last week against the Brumbies.
The Springbok No 8 returned to South Africa as part of the SA Rugby agreement with contracted Springboks and their franchises.
Lock Jason Jenkins will also don the blue jersey for the 50th time.
According to Human, the Bulls need to start well against the home side, who have won 11 of their 12 home games against the men from Pretoria.
“We need to get a good start and sustain that throughout the match. They have some quality players, but the real test will be in the set-pieces. The Blues have the best scrum success rate (97%) in the competition, so that will be a critical area for us,” the coach said.
With Handre Pollard and Duane Vermeulen out, Odendaal is relishing the captaincy.
“We are the underdogs, no doubt about that. That is good for us, as we can only concentrate on our own game and that we want to achieve. This will have to be very clinical performance from us. If not, it will be a long evening,” he said.
15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Jonathan Ruru; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (co-captain), 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (co-captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons Leni Apisai, 1 Alex Hodgman
Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Lua Li, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Tanielu Tele’a
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rosko Spekman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Andre Warner, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Divan Rossouw