Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar made one change to his team to play GWK Griquas in an Absa Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Callie Visagie will start at hooker in place of Willie Wepener, with Visagie’s spot on the bench from the Western Province clash taken by Bongi Mbonambi, who will make a first appearance in the competition.
Wepener has been asked to be released from his contract to take up an immediate offer with the MTN Golden Lions and it has been granted.
“We are very sad about losing Willie, but has decided not to stand in his way. There is a longer term option for him available at the Golden Lions and it will be wrong of us to deny him that,” Pienaar said.
“He has been a real warrior for us, so we want to wish him well in this move and thank him for his services to us.”
Commenting on the Griquas clash, Pienaar said the momentum from the Cape Town draw against Western Province will help his team in their first home match of the season.
“We did well there and you could see it in the way the guys trained this week. We are confident of playing to our potential again this weekend. No doubt Griquas will be a tough opponent. We have seen that there will be no easy matches in the Currie Cup already, so the guys know that they will have to be up for it.”
Vodacom Blue Bulls captain, Jono Ross, urged for another spirited performance from his young charges.
“The trick will be to consistently deliver your best performance every weekend. We cannot expect a result if we are not on top of our game against Griquas. They will punish us if we are not switched on and at our best,” Ross said.
The team to play Griquas is: Jürgen Visser, Sampie Mastriet, Ulrich Beyers, Francois Venter, Travis Ismaiel, Tony Jantjies, Rudy Paige, Jono Ross (c), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg, Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Frik Kirsten, Callie Visagie, Morné Mellett. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Marcell van der Merwe, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Jean Cook, Ruan Snyman, Waylon Murray, Clayton Blommetjies.