The Bulls entertain the Cheetahs on Saturday as both sides make for a final throw of the dice before deciding on their strongest starting XVs for another gruelling Super Rugby campaign.
Both teams share a youthful look about them with several fringe players being handed a rare opportunity to stake their claim to a regular berth in the side ahead of a brand new season.
Traditionally matches between these two rivals have been tight affair with a tough outing for the forwards in a close arm wrestle up front. However, given the nature of warm-up matches we can expect a more open clash with both backlines eager to experiment before Super Rugby is upon us.
The Bulls have brought out all their big guns for the clash, with only captain Pierre Spies and vice-captain Wynand Olivier unavailable through injury.
The new centre combination of Francois Venter and Johann Sadie is well worth keeping an eye on, with Ventre's raw power and ability to straighten the line mixed with Sadie's eye for a gap and quick turn of pace could make the midfield battle very interesting.
The Cheetahs young halfback combination of Piet van Zyl and Johan Goosen was excellent during last year's Currie Cup, but they face a stiff challenge from Springboks Francois Hougaard and Morné Steyn.
The battle of the breakdown will be contested by high school teammates Heinrich Brussow and Deon Stegmann, who are both more than a handful on the ground and capable of winning turnovers.
Prediction: The two sides are fairly evenly matched on paper and the winner is likely to be the side that has shaken off the most pre-season rust. Despite being a 'friendly' there is always a little bit extra at stake in a South African derby. The Cheetahs will threaten to spoil the party, but the Bulls will edge it by about 7 points.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Philip van der Walt, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Hennie Daniller, 23 Andries Strauss.
Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
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