The knockout game starts at 09h35 (SA time) and will be televised live on SuperSport1.
Kriel returns from an ankle injury and is set to earn his 70th cap in the light blue jersey as one of two changes to the starting side that beat the Emirates Lions last weekend.
The Springbok midfielder will slot in at No 13 and replaces the injured Burger Odendaal, while Johnny Kotze moves from wing to the inside centre berth. Meanwhile up front, Jason Jenkins also returns from injury to partner RG Snyman at lock, with Jannes Kirsten moving to the bench.
The Hurricanes have won three of their last four matches with the Pretoria outfit, all with a winning margin by five points or less, meaning another close-fought battle will be in the offering.
Handre Pollard, Vodacom Bulls flyhalf and skipper, finished the regular season as top points scorer on 186 points, while they have also managed to build up some nice momentum over the last three games. During this time, the Pretoria-based team have managed to secure a win and two draws against Kiwi-opposition.
What they said:
Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, described the return of Kriel and Jenkins as a boost: “Jesse’s experience and ability speaks for itself and it’s great to have him back. Jason has also been playing really well lately and he forms a very competitive combination with RG, so to have them united for this important game is a big plus. We have found some good momentum in the last couple of weeks though and will back ourselves on Saturday.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Handre Pollard, praised the team’s improvement this year and said their quarterfinal appearance is a just reward: “We achieved one of our goals and the next target is to get into the semi-finals. As a group we have learnt good lessons this year, and we need to keep the belief and the focus if we want to succeed.”
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith. Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May/Alex Fidow, 19 Kane Le'aupepe, 20 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd/Finlay Christie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Salesi Rayasi.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Head to Head:
Hurricanes won: 11
Vodacom Bulls won: 10
Hurricanes points: 567
Vodacom Bulls points: 539
Average score: 27-26
Date: Saturday, 22 June 2019
SA time: 09h35
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Brendon Pickerill
Television Match Official: Glenn Newman