Basson returns for Blue Bulls
Free-scoring wing Bjorn Basson has been named in the Blue Bulls' starting line-up for their Currie Cup clash with Western Province at Loftus on Friday.
Basson has now recovered from the effects of an operation following a tear to his intestines in the Super Rugby play-off game against the Crusaders.
"It certainly is good to know Bjorn is fit and ready to go. He is a world class player and we will try to get the ball in his hands," Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar said in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The late call-up of Arno Botha to the Springboks again results in a new loose trio combination for the match. Jean Cook slots in at number seven to replace his former SA U20 team-mate, while Dean Greyling has been bracketed with Mornè Mellett at loosehead in the only other change to the team that came so close to beating The Sharks last weekend.
Greyling just returned from a two-week suspension picked up while playing for the Springboks in Dunedin against the All Blacks. A final call on who will start in the number one jersey will be made later in the week.
Chiliboy Ralepelle makes a welcome return to the side after recovering from a knee injury and will play off the bench for his first Currie Cup action of the year. He replaces Bongi Mbonambi.
"We are not out of the competition yet and that is a positive for us. We realise though that only our very best efforts over the last two weeks will get us into a possible play-off spot and that is what I am expecting of the team - their very best," Pienaar said.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouchè, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Dewald Potgieter (capt), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Mornè Mellett/Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Lionel Cronjè, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
Date: Friday, October 5
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 BST, 17:10 GMT)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan