Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp is back in his team’s starting XV for Saturday’s must-win match against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld
Steenkamp replaces the injured Flip van der Merwe from the Bulls side that lost to the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
The 27-year-old last started for the Bulls in their clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton earlier in the season and will play in his 51st match at this level after stints with the Sharks and Cheetahs.
His place on the bench will be taken by fit-again openside flank Deon Stegmann, who has fully recovered from a broken arm suffered earlier in the season while Jacques Potgieter will provide cover at lock.
“We don’t need to tell the players at this stage of the competition what is at stake,” said coach Frans Ludeke.
“Everyone knows that the rewards for the hard work that we have put in can be justified with a good win. We had the play-offs as our first objective for the season, but definitely not our only one.
“We respect the Lions and is expecting them to come at us with everything they have. They have nothing to lose, so will be a very dangerous side.
“We need to focus on what we want to achieve, go out and execute that. The pressure will be on us to improve from last weekend.
Saturday’s derby hit-out will be the last one of the regular season and the hosts will know exactly what is needed to make the play-offs. But according to Ludeke, it does not change the way they approach the game.
“Our take has been to take it one game at a time and focus on those 80 minutes ahead of us. It will not change and we will still be going for the win first and foremost,” he said.
“We are not going to try and dictate any permutations. If you try to do that, you can lose focus on the task at hand. If we lose we are out, so the win will be the only focus for us.”
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Deon Stegmann, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Francois Venter.
Date: Saturday , July 14
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:10 (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: JC Fortuin (South Africa)