Louw returns as Vodacom Bulls change six for Leinster test

Louw returns as Vodacom Bulls change six for Leinster test

The Vodacom Bulls have made six changes to the match day 23 including that of Elrigh Louw who returns to the fold for the mammoth encounter against the table-topping Leinster in round 13 of the 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

Kick-off for this mouth-watering affair at the RDS Arena is set for 21h35pm CAT.

Louw was sidelined by a shoulder bump but the bulldozing forward returns to the starting lineup where he will lace up his boots alongside Marco van Staden and Marcell Coetzee in the third row. In front of them will be the lock duo of Ruan Nortje and Vermaak. The forwards will have Gerhard Steenekamp, Akker van der Merwe and Wilco Louw upfront.

Behind the forwards will be halfback duo, Embrose Papier at scrumhalf and Johan Goosen directing traffic at flyhalf.

At the back, Canan Moodie is retained at outside centre and to his left, he will be joined by David Kriel who returns to the matchday squad. Devon Williams switches to left wing with Kurt-Lee Arendse running out on the right-hand side of the park. Willie le Roux will manage affairs from fullback in South Dublin.

Jake White has opted for a five-three split impact squad which will see Johan Grobbelaar, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Reinhardt Ludwig, Mpilo Gumede, Zak Burger, Chris Smith and Harold Vorster on standby to do duty.

White says the match will be a great opportunity to test the progress of his side and a great advert for the competition.

“We have trained well and the guys who had niggles earlier in the week are all available except for Sebastien (de Klerk) who had a bit of a knock to his head last week,”

“I am told that this will be played out in front of a sold-out crowd which sends a good message to our team. It means that we are doing something right, it means that people want to see the Vodacom Bulls play and it means that we are able to draw crowds to games,”

“It will be a big game. It is a 1 playing 2 and I am positively confident that all their big guns will be out as well.”

White adds: “They are an incredible team, one of the best clubs in the world and this group of players have played in many big games, test matches included. So I am not for one minute underestimating the magnitude of this one-versus-two clash in front of a sold-out audience,”

“This is a great opportunity for us to measure ourselves against one of the strongest, in-form teams over the past couple of years. This will give me and the coaches a good chance to see where we have grown over the last couple of seasons.”

On the game and how his side would approach it, the Vodacom Bulls mentor said: “We must at least give ourselves a chance, we don’t want to come here and not fire a shot. This is a great opportunity for us to give it a go,”

“We also are going to have to match them, they are a really good team. We will have to match them in areas where they are really good and we are going to have to stop them from doing what they want to do as well. The one thing we have seen is that when they get going and get the game flowing with the rhythm they want to play, they are as good if not better than any team we have ever played against,”

“It will not be like a heavyweight boxing fight where you go toe-to-toe but I think it is a reality of being smart and it will be a case of taking your opportunities. An opportunity not just on the field but to also measure yourself against one of the best teams there has been over the past couple of years.”

VODACOM BULLS vs LEINSTER STARTING XV: 1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Elrigh Louw, 8. Marcell Coetzee (c), 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. Devon Williams, 12. David Kriel, 13. Canan Moodie, 14. Kurt-Lee Arendse, 15. Willie Le Roux

VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Johan Grobbelaar, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Reinhardt Ludwig, 20. Mpilo Gumede, 21. Zak Burger, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Harold Vorster

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