Pienaar picks team for Natal Sharks
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar included three Springboks in his side for Saturday's opening fixture in Absa's Currie Cup competition against the Natal Sharks in Durban.
One of them, Gary Botha, will lead the side, while Akona Ndungane and Dewald Potgieter will provide valuable experience. Corné Fourie will make his debut at loose head, with Jurgen Visser playing in his first Currie Cup match for the Blue Bulls as well. Francois Venter and Lohan Jacobs, who both played for the South African u.20 side last month, have been included on the bench, as has former Blue Bulls u.21 captain, Marnitz Boshoff.
"This is a new team and we are keen to measure ourselves against the defending champions on their home turf," Pienaar said. He believes Botha will lead by example.
"Gary epitomizes what the Blue Bulls are all about and his experience and leadership abilities are well established. He has a big role to play in this team and I am very happy that he was keen to take the captaincy role," Pienaar said.
Botha said it is important for the team to focus on the task at hand immediately.
"We are a proud union and a proud team. One of the critical issues for us will be to start playing as a team from the first minute of our first match, and this starts on Saturday."
The team is: Jurgen Visser, Gerhard van den Heever, Stephan Dippenaar, Stefan Watermeyer, Akona Ndungane, Francois Brummer, Dustin Jinka, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Dewald Potgieter, Derick Kuün, Juandré Kruger, Fudge Mabeta, Rossouw de Klerk, Gary Botha (c), Corné Fourie. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Juan Schoeman, Okkie Kruger, CJ Stander, Lohan Jacobs, Marnitz Boshoff, Francois Venter.