Vodacom Super Rugby
Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Carter out of Bulls clash
Johannesburg - The Vodacom Bulls chances of grabbing their first victory against the Crusaders in New Zealand since 1996 went up significantly on the news that All Black star Dan Carter has been ruled out of the clash.
Carter is still struggling with his hamstring injury and coach Todd Blackadder has decided not to risk the Kiwi pivot, who has been in sensational form this season in the Crusaders charge.
The loss of Carter is one of three changes to the Crusaders squad to face the Bulls on Saturday morning (CAT) in the hamlet of Timaru.
Sam Whitelock, the in-form locl has been ruled out for six weeks with an ankle ligament tear while the Ben Franks comes into the side at tighthead ahead of his brother Owen in a straight swop.
Whitelock is replaced by former All Black Chris Jack, who will form a formidable lineout combination with Brad Thorn, while Matt Berquist will replace Carter in his first start of the season.
On the reserves bench, lock Luke Romano comes into the match-day squad for the first time, and Joe Wheeler is bracketed with Jonathan Poff. Wheeler comes into the mix for the first time following a shoulder reconstruction last year.
A final decision on who will wear the number 19 jersey will be made by Friday morning. Tasman player Tom Marshall comes on to the bench as backs cover.
Blackadder said he was backing the depth in his squad, but expected a massive threat from the defending Super Rugby champions.
“We are very aware of their threats across the park so we’ll have to be switched on from the kick-off,” he said.
“We have great depth in our squad so we’re comfortable with the replacements for our injured guys. Matt has played well for us when coming on during matches and Chris has played over 100 matches for the Crusaders so that speaks for itself.”
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean
12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Matt Berquist, 9 Andy
Ellis, 8 Kieran Reid (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris
Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathan
Poff/Joe Wheeler, 20 Kahn Fotuali’i, 21 Tom Marshall, 22 Adam WhitelockBulls:
Zane Kirchner, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand
Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre
Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain),
4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Dean Greyling
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19
Derick Kuün, 20 Francois Brummer, 21 Gerhard van den Heever, 22 Danie