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Super Rugby Unlocked: Vermeulen returns to lead Bulls in Bloem

The Bulls have made five changes to their starting line-up to face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday evening, as Super Rugby Unlocked heads into round two.

Returning skipper Duane Vermeulen resumes the number eight jersey while Tim Agaba, who deputised in the hard-fought win over Griquas last week, getting a rest. The powerful Johan Grobbelaar gets a starting opportunity in the middle of the scrum alongside Trevor Nyakane and Jacques van Rooyen.

Bulls give Swart a chance against Steyn

Director of Rugby Jake White is set to hand exciting and hard-hitting centre, Clinton Swart, his Bulls senior debut in the City of Roses, in part to counter the physical presence of Frans Steyn in that 12 channel.

“I know what Frans can offer, and if you give Frans lots of gain-line, they play around him and off him as well. In a lot of ways, it has an influence, but we are not going to get away with playing Stedman Gans and Cornal Hendricks every single week.

“Clinton has trained really well, and comes from Free State, so knows the stadium well. I also like to try different combinations, and I’m trying Embrose Papier this week as well.

“Maybe moving Cornal to 13 might be a stroke of genius as well – he’s trained well there, and looks really comfortable running next to a guy like Clinton.”

Papier or plastic?

Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl have swapped the number nine jersey with the latter assuming the former’s spot on the bench.

“I always said Embrose will get some game time. It was never a question that he is sort of the number two. We’ve got two really good halfbacks, and it’s an opportunity for him to get some game time, seeing that he didn’t get to play that much against the Griquas,” White said of the halfback decision.

Jade Stighling slots in on the left wing in place of Travis Ismaiel.

The Bulls bench has also been altered with U21 star Joe van Zyl getting the call to receive his first senior cap if he is called upon. Gerhard Steenekamp replaces the injured Lizo Gqoboka, who sustained a calf injury against Griquas.

Nizaam Carr is the final change amongst the Bulls’ replacements with the Springbok loose forward coming in for Elrigh Louw.

Super Rugby Unlocked: Bulls team

Cheetahs vs Bulls, Friday, 16 October, 19:00

Bulls: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. David Kriel, 13. Cornal Hendricks, 12. Clinton Swart, 11. Jade Stighling, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Embrose Papier, 8. Duane Vermeulen (C), 7. Arno Botha, 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Jason Jenkins, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 1. Jacques van Rooyen.

Replacements: 16. Joe van Zyl, 17. Gerhard Steenekamp, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Sintu Manjezi, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Ivan van Zyl, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Stedman Gans.

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