Brits has served a four week suspension and will start at hooker, while Jenkins is fit again following an injury layoff and will run out at lock. They boost an already powerful pack, where a great battle is expected seeing that both sets of forwards are stacked with experienced international players.

Like Brits, Jenkins last played for the Vodacom Bulls in their 19-16 win over the Cell C Sharks at the end of March. Brits replaces Jaco Visagie and Jenkins takes the place of Jannes Kirsten. Visagie drops to the bench while Kirsten is handed the No 7 jersey in place of the injured Hanro Liebenberg.

In a rotational switch in the backline, Ivan van Zyl drops out of the match 23 and is replaced by André Warner at scrumhalf, while Embrose Papier is included amongst the replacements.

Experienced midfielder Burger Odendaal, who was a late withdrawal last week against the Waratahs, has been declared fit and starts in the midfield alongside Johnny Kotze, with Dylan Sage dropping out.

The Vodacom Bulls have won five of their last six outings in Pretoria against the defending champions, which includes semi-final victories in 2009 and 2010, although they succumbed to a 62-24 defeat the last time the Crusaders visited Loftus Versfeld, in 2017.

The Crusaders, on the other hand, have won seven from their last eight games in South Africa, including all four of their previous outings in the Republic. The team from Canterbury were held to a thrilling 21-21 home draw last week by the Cell C Sharks.

Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard has succeeded with 48 goal kicks so far this season, the most by any player in the competition, and the Springbok pivot will once more be key figure for the team in light blue jerseys.

What they said:

Vodacom Bulls head coach Pote Human welcomed the return of his two Springboks in the pack: “Schalk has been itching to play for the last couple of weeks and he will be very keen. Jason also recovered well and looked very sharp in training. Both are players of international standard, so it is great to have them back. Our pack will need to step up to the plate if we want to contain the Crusaders and these two are certainly capable of adding to that.”

Vodacom Bulls captain Handré Pollard said they are determined to end this phase of the tournament on a strong footing: “We travel overseas after this match and will only be back at Loftus next month, so this is a very important match for us. We need to do well here in order to maintain our log position and to get some momentum for the tour. Everyone realises what is at stake.”

The teams:

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 André Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.

Crusaders tour squad (match-23 TBA): Michael Alaalatoa, Harrison Allan, Scott Barrett, Tim Bateman, Ethan Blackadder, George Bower, George Bridge, Ryan Crotty, Mitchell Dunshea, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Mitchell Drummond, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Bryn Hall, David Havili, Mitchell Hunt, Oli Jager, Andrew Makalio, Joe Moody, Richie Mo'unga, Ngane Punivai, Kieran Read, Sevu Reece, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Samuel Whitelock* (traveling at a later date).

Head to head:

Played: 26

Vodacom Bulls won: 10

Crusaders won: 16

Vodacom Bulls points: 613

Crusaders points: 864

Average score: 24-33

Match information:

Date: Friday, 10 May

SA time: 19h10

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Egon Seconds

Television Match Official: Willie Vos

TV: SuperSport1