Pretoria – Former Springbok Sevens flyer Jamba Ulengo will
make his Super Rugby debut on Friday for the Bulls when they take on the
undefeated Sharks at Loftus Versfeld (19:00 kick-off).
The hard-running Ulengo, who scored 11 tries in 11 matches
for the Blue Bulls in last year’s Currie Cup, replaces Trevor Ismaiel on the
right wing in the only change to the starting backline.
Up front, Bulls coach Nollis Marais, also swapped Roelof
Smit and Nic de Jager around, with Smit starting at open side and De Jager
moving to the bench.
South Africa’s current Young Player of the Year, Jesse
Kriel, meanwhile, has been named on the bench.
Kriel missed the Bulls win against the Rebels two weeks ago
due to a head clash in training, but has been cleared to take the field against
the leading South African team in the competition. He will replace Dries
“Jamba was one of our star players last year and deserves an
opportunity. We have good depth amongst our outside backs and I am happy to
give Jamba a run against the Sharks,” Marais explained.
“To have a bye this early in the competition has pros
and cons, but we decided to look at it in a positive way. It gave us time to
work on the aspects of our game that was shown up by the Stormers and Rebels
and it gave the likes of Jesse a chance to get match-fit again. The Sharks will
arrive at Loftus with a lot of momentum and confidence, but we need to put a
stop to that if we want to be successful,” Marais said.
“We played with great spark in the first half against
both the Stormers and Rebels, but our efforts in the second half of those
matches did not deliver the same intensity and desire and that is something we
worked on during the bye.”
Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss made it clear that his side is
keen to get back to the field.
“The tournament has already showed why it is such a
great one for players and spectators alike. There has been some great games so
far and we can’t wait to become part of the action again this weekend. This
will be another typical South African derby with no mercy being given or asked.
The Sharks have been great so far and will provide us with a massive test. But
we would not want it any other way and to front that challenge in front of our
home support will certainly spur us on.”
Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11
Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes
Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe,
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Nic de
Jager, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jesse Kriel