With next season’s Heineken Champions Cup including three South African clubs for the first time, we’re taking a closer look at each club’s squad, section by section, and picking out some players who could star in the competition. Next up we look at the key Bulls backs, who face Exeter Chiefs and Lyon in Pool A.

Chris Smith

The 27-year-old fly-half looks like being an important figure in their maiden Heineken Champions Cup campaign as the Bulls seek to build on their runners-up finish in last season’s United Rugby Championship.

He amassed 153 points, the second highest tally in the competition, in his 20 games and was the main reason the Bulls ran the Stormers so close in the URC final, kicking eight points in their 18-13 loss.

Kurt-Lee Arendse

The full-back or wing has rapidly risen to prominence since switching from sevens to 15-a-side, winning his first Test cap for South Africa against Wales last month on the back of some impressive URC displays last season.

The 26-year-old was the URC’s leading player for metres gained (1,086) and made the second highest number of clean breaks in the tournament, as well as notching seven tries from 14 games.

Morné Steyn

The veteran fly-half is already a familiar figure to European rugby spectators, having scored 123 points in 30 EPCR appearances for Stade Français Paris between 2013 and 2019, helping them win the Challenge Cup in 2017.

The South African international, who won 68 caps before retiring from Test rugby in 2021, is still going strong too at 38, notching 63 points in 15 URC games last season.

Cornal Hendricks

Another former sevens player to make an impact in the 15-a-side game is wing or centre Hendricks, who won World and Commonwealth Games gold medals in rugby’s shortened version before switching and going on to be capped 12 times by the Springboks.

The 34-year-old was also a regular in the Bulls’ URC line-up last term, starting 16 of his 20 games and scoring five tries, in addition to making 12 clean breaks.