Bjorn Basson will make a welcome return to the Vodacom Blue Bulls side to play The Sharks in an Absa Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
The winger, who scored two tries in his only appearance for the Blue Bulls in the competition this year, has been released by the Springboks ahead of their test match against New Zealand in Johannesburg.
Basson will play on the wing, with Sampie Mastriet dropping to the bench and Clayton Blommetjies missing out on selection.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar also made two changes to his front row for this crucial clash against the log leaders.
Bongi Mbonambi will start at hooker and Frik Kirsten, who recovered from a knee injury, will play as tighthead. Bandise Maku (bench) and Werner Kruger (dropped) started against Griquas last weekend.
Pienaar was quite pleased to have Basson back again, but warned that only a total team effort will help them secure a victory.
“We are with our backs to the wall. Last weekend in Kimberley was an important one for us, as it rewarded our good defensive efforts, while it gave confidence to our attack. We will need both those aspects to function again if we want to be competitive against The Sharks,” Pienaar said.
The team to play The Sharks is: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, William Small-Smith, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Jono Ross (c), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg, David Bulbring, Paul Willemse, Frik Kirsten, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Dean Greyling, Grant Hattingh, Jacques Engelbrecht, Lohan Jacobs, Ulrich Beyers, Sampie Mastriet.