The Vodacom Bulls have welcomed back the services of Johan Goosen and Nizaam Carr for round 4 of the 2023 Currie Cup campaign. The Pretoria outfit travels to the Down Touch Investments Stadium, where they will take on the Novavit Griffons on Friday [31 March 2023] afternoon.
Kick-off for the clash is set for 15h00pm.
Flyhalf, Goosen was sidelined due to shoulder surgery whilst Carr (flanker) nursed a hamstring niggle. The pair are the only two changes made by coach, Edgar Marutlulle to the starting XV that did duty against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, a week ago.
Carr will line up alongside Phumzile Maqondwana and Muller Uys in the back row, in an otherwise unchanged forwards pack that includes captain Lizo Gqoboka, Jan Hendrik Wessels, Robert Hunt, Jacques Du Plessis and Reinhardt Ludwig. Goosen will join Keagan Johannes to combine as the two halfbacks in Welkom whilst Lionel Mapoe and Wandisile Simelane combine at centre. Kabelo Mokoena (left) and Quewin Nortje (right) will burn the gas burners from the wing with Franco Knoetze serving at fullback.
On the bench, Jacques van Rooyen and Simphiwe Matanzima have swapped locations, as van Rooyen joins the European squad with Matanzima reuniting with the South African camp, for family reasons. JP Alberts and Adriaan Joubert are the only other two changes made to the bench.
Marutlulle said that having Johan and Carr return was a welcomed boost for the club.
“If anyone offers you Goosen for your Currie Cup game, you take him at the blink of an eye. He is a world-class player who has travelled the world, represented the Springboks and played really amazing rugby in his career and so we are excited to have him with us for the Currie Cup,”
“I think when some people call you a prodigal interms of sport, where Johan has been earmarked since the age of 16,17 and there has always been that pressure of performance which he has shown at times. He has gone on to win two ‘Player of the Year’ awards during his time at the Top14 in France,”
“As a new coaching staff, we have the ability to give Johan freshness, the opportunity to give him space and a new voice where this team becomes the place where he can relax because he knows this is not the penultimate of rugby.”
On Nizaam moving between blind-side, open-side and eighth man, the Currie Cup mentor said: “We know Nizaam can play all around [6, 7, 8], he has enough adequate skills that bring us the all-important balance that we need in that back row. Supported by the likes of Phumzile who has done well in the opportunities he has gotten,”
On the challenge that awaits in Welkom, Marutlulle said: “I think this is the first time we have been able to put together a similar team together for two weekends in a row, and this is always the challenge of a franchise team. Finding consistency in selection and match-to-match performance. So we are hoping to begin seeing that cohesion and those relationships building through, continuing our momentum from the game last week,”
“We expect a difficult challenge from the Griffons in terms of what they offer physically, they have a 10 that can kick well and a 9 that can also kick for posts. They really have a mixed bag in terms of the style that they bring to the Currie Cup but we are excited for the challenge and we are really looking forward to growing and improving on last weeks performance where we were really good for 60 minutes of the game.”
VODACOM BULLS vs NOVAVIT GRIFFONS STARTING XV:
1. Lizo Gqoboka (c), 2. Jan Hendrik Wessels, 3. Robert Hunt, 4. Jacques Du Plessis, 5. Reinhardt Ludwig, 6. Phumzile Maqondwana, 7. Nizaam Carr, 8. Muller Uys, 9. Keagan Johannes, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. Kabelo Mokoena, 12. Lionel Mapoe (vc), 13. Wandisile Simelane, 14. Quewin Nortje, 15. Franco Knoetze
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD:
16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Joe Van Zyl, 18. Sebastian Lombard, 19. JP Alberts, 20. Mihlali Mosi, 21. Bernard van der Linde, 22. Chris Barend Smit, 23. Adriaan Joubert
MANAGEMENT: Edgar Marutlulle – Head Coach, Sean Everitt – Defence & Breakdown, Hugo van As – Backline, Gert Smal – Forwards, Justin – Technical Analyst, Dr. Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Mike Prevoo – Strength & Conditioning, Darryn Berry – Physiotherapist, Claudette Eckard – Physiotherapist, Andries Kabine – Logistics Manager, Yusuf Vahed – Team Manager