Bulls Jake White Springboks SA Rugby

Bulls coach Jake White. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Bulls field B-team for Champions Cup quarter-final. Good or bad selection policy?

SPRINGBOKS RESTED: The Bulls have picked second-string lineup for their Champions Cup for quarter-final against the Northampton Saints on Saturday.

Bulls Jake White Springboks SA Rugby

Bulls coach Jake White. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The Bulls will take on the Northampton Saints without any current Springboks after Jake White opted to chop and change their team for the last eight clash in England.

World Cup-winning Springbok quartet Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie and Marco van Staden as well as former Bok Marcell Coetzee are among those left in Pretoria for the match.


Former Springbok Nizaam Carr has been called upon to lead a Bulls side not nearly close to full-strength. Carr starts at open side flank and will be partnered in the back row by blindside flank Mpilo Gumede and fit-again No 8 Cameron Hanekom.

Staying with the forwards, another capped Springbok — Akker van der Merwe — cracks the at hooker and is sandwich in the front row by props Simphiwe Matanzima and Mornay Smith, while Janko Swanepoel pairs JF van Heerden in a new-look second row.

In the back division, Zak Burger and Chris Smith are primed to continue as the halfback-axis in a backline that otherwise much-changed backline.

Harold Vorster and Henry Immelman are the centre pairing for this game, while wings Stravino Jacobs and Sebastian de Klerk are either side of fullback Devon Williams.

On an otherwise youthful bench, Jaco van der Walt and Cornal Hendricks are the two most experienced campaigners providing cover for the Bulls’ starting XV.


White said the selection for the encounter with the Saints is based on two factors – the need to rotate more and medical advice.

“I have said it over and over again, last season I did not rotate my squad enough and it came back to bite me in the end,” White said.

“It has nothing to do with [the crucial upcoming URC fixture against] Munster. It has to do with where we are as a group.”

“I received medical advice that some players with ‘bumps and bruises’ after the last trip [to Dublin] and the massive game against Lyon would be an enormous risk on a trip abroad,” the Bulls boss continued.

“They would unlikely be ready for Saturday and we would be at risk with players who can’t start. You can’t have guys 50-50 [to play] when you travel away from home and not being ready by Saturday.

“It would be impossible to replace them. It is the best team we can field. I am confident and looking forward to seeing how they perform.”

Bulls — 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 Henry Immelman, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Izak Burger, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Mpilo Gumede, 6 Nizaam Carr (captain), 5 JF van Heerden, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Subs: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Merwe Olivier, 20 Reinhardt Ludwig, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Cornal Hendricks.

Bulls team to face Northampton Saints
The Bulls team as announced by Jake White. Image: Via X.