The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to face the MTN Golden Lions in Pretoria on Saturday sees two changes from the one that beat GWK-Griquas at Loftus Versfeld last weekend.
At scrumhalf, Ruan Snyman will earn his first start, swopping places with Rudy Paige (who drops to the bench) and Bongi Mbonambi who will start at hooker in place of the injured Callie Visagie.
Former Vodacom Blue Bulls hooker Bandise Maku, who left Pretoria to play for the Lions and later the Southern Kings, returns to the team on the bench, whilst Jacques Engelbrecht will earn his first start for his new team should he be called upon from the bench.
Engelbrecht, a former SWD Eagles, Kings and Springbok Sevens player, comes in for injured Jean Cook.
"We have played well in patches this far and now need to produce a more lasting effort," coach Pine Pienaar said on Wednesday.
"The Lions have a lot of momentum and have played as a unit for a while now, so we will need to counter that by playing as a team. I am happy to call on the likes of Bandise and Jacques as they have slotted in very well and I am sure they will make a telling contribution off the bench."
Vodacom Blue Bulls captain Jono Ross echoed his coach's sentiments.
"We have improved every match and that is the pleasing part of our performances. We have not put together an 80 minute effort yet though and everyone is quite conscious about that. We have seen that when we play as a team, we are hard to beat, so our objectives are quite clear in that regard."
The team to play the Lions is:
Jürgen Visser, Sampie Mastriet, Ulrich Beyers, Francois Venter, Travis Ismaiel, Tony Jantjies, Ruan Snyman, Jono Ross (c), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg, Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Morné Mellett. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Marcel van der Merwe, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Jacques Engelbrecht, Rudy Paige, Waylon Murray, Clayton Blommetjies.
•Jacques Engelbrecht will make his debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls should he take to the field.
•Bongi Mbonambi will earn a first start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls after earning five caps as a replacement in the Absa Currie Cup competition.
•Ruan Snyman last started a match in the Absa Currie Cup on 8 September 2012, also against the MTN Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld.
•Bandise Maku’s last outing for the Vodacom Blue Bulls was on October 9th 2010 against The Sharks in Durban.