Bulls coach Nollis Marais told rugby365 that Saturday's outing against the Lions in Harare is a "trial" for fringe players.
Although the Bulls are taking a 39-man squad on the trip to Zimbabwe, they will not play any of their Springboks.
Those guys will be pushed into the fray when the Bulls take on the two-time Super Rugby champion Chiefs in Brisbane on February 8.
"Not one of the contracted Boks will play," Marais said, adding that other key players will also sit on the sideline in Harare.
It means players like Bok lock Lodewyk de Jager, Bok flyhalf Handré Pollard, Bok utility back Jesse Kriel, hooker Jaco Visagie, Bok loose forward Jacques Potgieter and Bok prop Trevor Nyakane will be held back for the encounter with the Chiefs.
"We will start with all the fringe players," Marais told rugby365, adding: "In the second half we will put a bit more experience on the field.
"The game against the Chiefs in Brisbane is where our full-strength team will play."
Also, players like John Jackson, Travis Ismaiel and Jan Serfontein will continue their rehabilitation from injuries in Pretoria and won't travel to Harare.
"The fringe player players are getting a chance to show their worth, [because] it is a trial game.
"The Lions are doing the same," the coach said, adding: "They are also sending a very young squad.
"The senior squad members will only play [against the Chiefs] in Brisbane."
With regular captain Adriaan Strauss still sidelined with a back injury, younger players like Pollard and Hanro Liebenberg will do most of the leading on the field in the pre-season and the opening rounds of the competition proper.
Strauss will support them in an off-field role.
"Adriaan will play a big mentoring role. He has gone through some tough times, especially the last year, so he will be able to guide them and keep them on track."
Teams for Harare:
Bulls squad: Lizo Gboka, Jaco Visagie, Coenraad van Vuuren, Ruben van Heerden, Abongile Nonkontwana, Nic de Jager, Hendre Stassen, Renaldo Bothma, Ivan van Zyl, Tony Jantjies, John Jackson, Johnny Kotze, Sibahle Maxwane, Jade Stigling, Manie Libbok, Corniel Els, Pierre Schoeman, Rudolph Snyman, Shaun Adendorff, Andre Warner, Francois Brummer, Franco Naude, Edgar Marutlulle, John-Roy Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Lodewyk de Jager, Adriaan Strauss, Jacques Potgieter, Hanro Liebenberg, Rudi Paige, Handré Pollard, Jacobie Adriaanse, Burger Odendaal, Dries Swanepoel, Jamba Ulengo, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant, Tian Schoeman, Luther Obi.
Lions squad: Le Roux Baard, Ruan Brits, Jean-Luc Cilliers, Ashlon Davids, Bobby de Wee, Hacjivah Dyamani, JP du Preez, Dean Gordon, Wiehan Jacobs, Marco Janse van Vuren, Pieter Jansen, Kyle Kruger, Gerrie Labuschagne, Jan-Louis Le Grange, Koch Marx, Siya Masuku, Stean Pienaar, Jarryd Sage, Pieter Scholtz, Victor Sekekete, Bheki Shongwe, Sithembiso Sithole, André Smit, Wayne van der Bank, Morné van den Berg, Gerdus van der Walt, Jano Venter, Jaco Willemse.
Date: Saturday, January 28
Venue: National Sports Stadium, Harare
Kick-off: 13.00 (11.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
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