A blend of youth and experience is the name of the game for the Bulls after naming their 40-man squad for the season.
Where there is forward experience in Josh Strauss and Juandre Kruger‚ there is the necessary freshness of Muller Uys and Ruan Nortje.
With the attritional nature of Super Rugby‚ squads have to be big to manage the inevitable injury demands of the long tournament.
The Bulls though are highly likely to call on a similar starting 15 to what they had last season‚ even though they will be without the likes of RG Snyman and Handré Pollard.
The Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok duo have overseas contracts‚ with the talented Jason Jenkins and Lood de Jager, who also left the franchise.
The Bulls will have a new lock combination‚ but in Kruger‚ they will have a seasoned campaigner to guide the youngsters.
With Morné Steyn back from his European sojourn‚ Manie Libbok will have competition and guidance on the same wavelength.
Chris Smith adds to the Bulls’ flyhalf depth while the interesting name of youngster Richard Kriel has been added to the squad as an outside back.
Except for Pollard’s absence‚ there is not much change to the Bulls’ back division which will be led by captain Burger Odendaal.
The Bulls will open their Super Rugby account with two away SA derbies against the Sharks next week and the Stormers on February 8.
Those games will be followed by three homes games against the Blues (February 22)‚ the Jaguares (February 29) and the Highlanders (March 7) before a four-match Australasian tour that will see them face the Reds‚ Waratahs‚ Hurricanes and Chiefs.
Forwards: Simphiwe Matanzima‚ Gerhard Steenekamp‚ Lizo Gqoboka‚ Corniel Els‚ Jaco Visagie‚ Muller Uys‚ Johan Grobbelaar‚ Louis van der Westhuizen‚ Trevor Nyakane‚ Wiehahn Herbst‚ Dayan van der Westhuizen‚ Andries Ferreira‚ Ryno Pieterse‚ Ian Groenewald‚ Juandré Kruger‚ Ruan Nortje‚ Tim Agaba‚ Marco van Staden‚ Jeandré Rudolph‚ Ruan Steenkamp‚ Abongile Nonkontwana‚ Wian Vosloo‚ Josh Strauss.
Backs: Ivan van Zyl‚ Embrose Papier‚ Marco Jansen van Vuren‚ Morné Steyn‚ Chris Smith‚ Manie Libbok‚ Rosko Specman‚ Divan Rossouw‚ Burger Odendaal‚ Dylan Sage‚ Franco Naude‚ Cornal Hendricks‚ Nafi Tuitavake‚ Marnus Potgieter‚ Johnny Kotze‚ Jade Stighling‚ Warrick Gelant‚ Richard Kriel.