Cape Town — Springbok midfielder Jesse Kriel will make a welcome return to the Bulls starting team to face the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby quarter-final clash in Wellington on Saturday.
Kriel returns from an ankle injury sustained late in April and will run out for his 70th cap in the Bulls jersey in the one of two changes in the starting team that outplayed the Lions last weekend.
Kriel comes in for the injured Burger Odendaal, with Johnny Kotze moving to the inside centre berth and Kriel slotting back in at 13.
Up front, Jason Jenkins also returns to partner RG Snyman at lock after missing the Lions clash as well due to injury.
He takes over from Jannes Kirsten, who reverts to the bench.
Bulls coach Pote Human said the return of Kriel and Jenkins will be a boost.
"Jesse's experience and ability speaks for itself and to have him back for this match is good news for us. Jason has also been playing really well lately and he forms a very competitive combination with RG, so it is a plus having that."
Human said the Bulls don't want to leave Wellington without a win.
"We prepared to play in the final. We are now three matches away from that, but realise that we cannot look past this one against a very dangerous Hurricanes team. They play at home, have won this competition before and have so many strike players that will keep us busy. We have found some good momentum in the last couple of weeks though and will back ourselves on Saturday."
Bulls captain Handre Pollard said the improvement the team made this year was good reward.
"We have achieved one goal and now set our target on getting into the semifinals. We have learnt good lessons this year as a group, with one of them about our consistency. We need to keep the belief, the focus and the drive."
Pollard said they have nothing to lose.
"We already improved on last season, but now that we are here, realise how close we are to make this even more meaningful, not only for ourselves as a squad, but for the support back home."
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
Substitutes: 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
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
Substitutes: 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