Ismaiel returns for Bulls

Former Junior Springbok winger Travis Ismaiel has recovered from injury and is back in the Bulls starting XV for Saturday’s clash with the Southern Kings in Pretoria.

The 25-year old picked up an injury against the Crusaders early in May, but takes over his regular spot from Kefense Mahlo for the match in one of two back-line changes to the side that beat the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

In the other alteration, Tian Schoeman has been promoted off the bench and will start at fly-half in place of the injured Tony Jantjies.

There are some new faces on the bench for this match, with two more players set to make their debut for the Bulls. Fly-half Tinus de Beer will provide cover off the bench for Schoeman and could make a first start in the tournament, while Ruben van Heerden has also been named in the match day squad for the first time.

The lock was part of the bronze medal winning South Africa U20 team at the World Rugby Junior World Championship in Tbilisi last month and this progression into the Bulls senior side will be another highlight in his season.

He comes in for Renaldo Bothma, who broke his arm in Durban last weekend.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said the team is determined to finish well at home.

“The result away from home last weekend was a huge relief,” he revealed.

“We came close a number of times on the road, but never played as convincingly as last weekend. The challenge will be to repeat that performance at home. 

“We have not offered our support base at Loftus much to cheer about this year, especially by losing our last three matches at home. We now have two more chances to get it right.”