Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke will look at his next generation Vodacom Bulls players to deliver the goods in the Vodacom Super Rugby season after he named a youthful looking side to face the Cell C Sharks in the season’s opener in Durban on Saturday.
Regular captain Pierre Spies will lead a team on the field with a number of players on debut and a number of others with only a handful of caps, but will also have the luxury of Victor Matfield on the bench.
Matfield will join former Sharks AJ Venter en John Smit in becoming the most capped South African Vodacom Super Rugby players and will play in his 125th match at this level.
Deon Stegmann (groin) failed a fitness test on Wednesday and was not considered, which will give Jono Ross a starting opportunity in the number 6 jersey. His fellow flanker, Jacques du Plessis, will play in the number seven jersey for the first time after an appearance at lock in his Super Rugby debut in 2013.
Springbok scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, who joined from the Toyota Cheetahs, will play off the bench, as will Jacques Engelbrecht, who joined from the Southern Kings.
The Vodacom Bulls team to play the Cell C Sharks (with Super Rugby caps) is:
Jurgen Visser (11), Akona Ndungane (96), JJ Engelbrecht (33), Jan Serfontein (12), Bjorn Basson (55), Louis Fouchè (21), Francois Hougaard (56), Pierre Spies (c, 102), Jacques du Plessis (1), Jono Ross (4), Flip van der Merwe (63), Paul Willemse (5), Werner Kruger (92), Callie Visagie (23), Dean Greyling (38). Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi (2), Frik Kirsten (31), Marcel van der Merwe (3), Victor Matfield (124), Jacques Engelbrecht (14), Piet van Zyl (32), Handrè Pollard (0), Ulrich Beyers (0).