It’s the second match of their Australasian tour and apart from maintaining momentum after last weekend’s win over the Rebels in Melbourne, the men from Pretoria will also be looking for an “Aussie Slam”, by beating all four Australian teams in one season – a feat they last accomplished in 2012.
But the Vodacom Bulls will be up against the odds in the Australian capital – the Brumbies have won five of their last six matches against the men from Pretoria, which includes the last three on the bounce.
And they are even more dangerous at GIO Stadium, where the team from the Australian Capital Territories have won nine of their 10 matches against the Vodacom Bulls, with their only defeat coming in the men from Pretoria’s first title-winning season of 2007.
Regular captain, Handré Pollard will miss this clash due to a calf strain picked up in training earlier this week, and will be returning to South Africa, which means Manie Libbok will start in the No 10 jersey, with JT Jackson on the bench. Duane Vermeulen takes over the captaincy.
With Springbok forwards RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins and Vermeulen leading the charge, the Vodacom Bulls will be hoping to build on their lineout success rate of 93%, the best in the competition this year and a full four percentage points higher than the Brumbies (89%).
What they said:
Vodacom Bulls head coach Pote Human said Libbok, who started for the Vodacom Bulls against the Jaquares earlier in the season, have big shoes to fill, but he has the ability to help the team achieve a second win on tour: “He would not be around if he was not good enough, that is for sure. Handré is probably the leading 10 in the world at the moment, so to take over from him is not easy, but Manie has done well for us when he took to the field this year and I have the utmost confidence in him this weekend.”
Vodacom Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen would like to see a repeat of their defensive effort from last week against the Rebels: “We defended very well when under severe pressure and the Brumbies are going to test us the same way. They are so skilled and determined, we cannot let our guard down or we will pay the price.”
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 Scott Sio. Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Rob Valetini, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Wright.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Head to head:
Brumbies won: 14
Vodacom Bulls won: 8
Brumbies points: 650
Vodacom Bulls points: 558
Average score: 30-25
Date: Friday, 24 May 2019
SA time: 11h45
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, Paul Williams
Television Match Official: James Leckie