The Blue Bulls will be buoyed by the return of Springbok prop Gurthrö Steenkamp to the starting line-up for their match against the Lions at Loftus on Friday.
Steenkamp was released from the Springbok squad to get game time in the Gauteng derby and will provide the Bulls with some muscle and experience in what is set to be a bruising contest.
Steenkamp replaces Jaco Engels, who coach Frans Ludeke said had played superbly to date.
“Gurthrö adds a lot of value to our team and his experience is very important to us,” he said. “He is the type of player that gets the things going and he arrived here in a very positive frame of mind. He is eager to fight his way back into the Springbok team and he is looking forward to the game against the Lions.”
Bandise Maku starts at hooker with Derick Kuün still injured. Chiliboy Ralepelle will cover on the bench.
Blue Bulls - Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Marius Delport, Wynand Olivier, John Mametsa; Morné Steyn, JP Joubert; Pedrie Wannenburg, Wikus van Heerden (c), Deon Stegmann, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Danie Rossouw, Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Subs: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Rayno Gerber, Francois van Schouwenburg, Jaco Engels, Francois Hougaard, Burton Francis, Jacques Burger.