Bulls coach Pote Human says former Springboks flyhalf Morné Steyn has not returned to Loftus for a holiday but has rejoined the team to share his vast experience in their Super Rugby campaign.
The 35-year-old Steyn‚ who will play his first Super Rugby match since 2013‚ was chosen by Human at flyhalf ahead of promising Manie Libbok for the season-opening clash with the Sharks in Durban on Friday.
“Morné is happy to be back at Loftus where he made a name for himself‚” said Human when he announced a strong squad for the trip to King’s Park.
“He has lots of experience having played for the Boks and the Bulls and also in France. Now he is back at Loftus‚ he is fully fit and that’s why he is in the side.”
Steyn‚ who won the Super Rugby title three times with the Bulls in the past‚ will form the halfback combination with Ivan van Zyl, while Embrose Papier‚ who enjoyed a successful loan to the Sale Sharks in Manchester‚ will provide backup.
In other team news‚ Steyn will be joined by No 8 Josh Strauss‚ flanker Jeandré Rudolph‚ lock Andries Ferreira and replacement loose-forward Wian Vosloo, while replacement lock Ryno Pieterse will make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.
Cornal Hendricks will do his thing on the wing and lock Juandré Kruger will add grunt to the engine room. Human has opted for a 6/2 split on the bench that includes Trevor Nyakane.
“He [Trevor] is fit at this stage‚ with Lizo [Gqoboka] had a few weeks with us at training but I thought it is better for him to come on from the bench. Lizo is in better form and that’s why he is starting this week.”
Captain Burger Odendaal said he is expecting a physical battle with the Sharks in their own backyard.
“We know that the Sharks always bring the physical battle‚ that’s why we went with the 6/2 split on the bench. Our forwards have to pitch for this game and we have to give a complete 80-minute performance.
“The Sharks thrive on turnovers and we have to cut down on our mistakes. You don’t need to motivate the guys for a match like this,” Odendaal said.
History favours the visitors with the Bulls having managed eight wins and a draw in their last nine matches against the Sharks.