Basson back to boost Vodacom Blue Bulls
The return of Absa Currie Cup record try scorer Bjorn Basson will boost the Vodacom Blue Bulls ahead of their Absa Currie Cup match against the MTN Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Basson, who holds the record for most Currie Cup tries in a season, has been released by the Springboks for this match and will start on the left wing, where he replaces Sampie Mastriet.
It is one of four changes to the backline. Clayton Blommetjies rotates with Jurgen Visser at fullback for his first start of the season, while Ulrich Beyers is fit again and will start ahead of Waylon Murray. At flyhalf, Tony Jantjies replaces injured Handrè Pollard.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar also recalled his most experienced lock, Wilhelm Steenkamp to the starting pack and a fit-again Werner Kruger will start at tighthead, with Frik Kirsten on the bench. Bandise Maku also makes a first start this season.
Regular Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 hooker, Jaco Visagie, has been included on the bench and could make his debut if called upon.
Pienaar admitted that his side is approaching this match as a play-off.
“We have to. If we lose, it will become very, very difficult to make the top four, it is as simple as that. We know we are a better team than this, but we need to prove it to ourselves and our fans. So this is a make or break weekend for us.”
The team to play the MTN Golden Lions at Ellis Park is: Clayton Blommetjies, Akona Ndungane, Ulrich Beyers, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Tony Jantjies, Rudy Paige, Jono Ross (c), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Morné Mellett. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Frik Kirsten, Grant Hattingh, Jacques Engelbrecht, Lohan Jacobs, William Small-Smith, Jurgen Visser.