Fed up with the substandard performances, Blue Bulls ring the changes
It wasn’t going to take long for Blue Bulls director of rugby John Mitchell to get fed up with the substandard performances by his team and start making changes.
And he rung them in, all nine of them, to the team to play against the Tafel Lager Griquas in the Currie Cup tomorrow night at Loftus Versfeld.
Springbok Marnitz Boshoff makes his first start since returning to Loftus from Irish club Connacht while the Bulls will spot a new frontrow with hooker Edgar Marutlulle and tighthead prop Dayan van der Westhuizen getting their first starts of the season while Lizo Gqoboka is the sole survivor from last weekend.
Aston Fortuin also gets his first start in Currie Cup rugby in the second row and will partner Ruben van Heerden. Shaun Adendorff will come in at No 6 flank to play alongside Jannes Kirsten and Nic de Jager.
Ivan van Zyl will start ahead of André Warner at scrumhalf with Johnny Kotze getting the nod to lead the way at outside centre and wings Duncan Matthews and Sibahle Manxwane also handed starting berths for the clash.
Some of the changes were brought about by Mitchell wanting to afford all the players in the squad an opportunity to stake their claim in the team. Most were, however, as a consequence to what transpired on the field at Mbombela Stadium last Friday when the Bulls were embarrassed 51-15 by the Pumas.
What added insult to injury in the defeat by the Pumas were the three yellow cards the men from Loftus conceded.
That ill-discipline meant that they played for almost 30 minutes in the game with one less player than the opposition.
Mitchell did not mince his words during yesterday’s team announcement and was frank about not accepting ill-discipline on the field from the players.
“There will certainly be consequences for players going forward in terms of not being reliable in that area (discipline) likewise in core skill.
“All those things are changing, we are in transition and one can’t be a miracle worker in terms of changing bad habits within seven days but certainly over a period of time we will get there,” Mitchell said.
Blue Bulls (15-1): Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Johnny Kotze, JT Jackson, Rabs Maxwane, Marnitz Boshoff, Ivan van Zyl, Nic de Jager (captain), Jannes Kirsten, Shaun Adendorff, Ruben van Heerden, Aston Fortuin, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Edgar Marutlulle, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench: Johan Grobbelaar, Matthys Basson, Jano Venter, Tim Agaba, André Warner, Tony Jantjies, Stedman Gans.