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    Matfield back to lead Bulls

    2015-04-30 12:03

    Pretoria - The most capped South African Super Rugby player ever, Victor Matfield, is back at the helm of the Bulls when they take on the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

    Matfield, who last captained the Bulls in the opening round of the competition, will return at lock following successful knee surgery that kept him out of action for a month to play in his 145th match, replacing Grant Hattingh who drops to the bench.

    Also back in the match XV that shows five changes to the run-on side that took the field at Newlands last weekend, is Jan Serfontein, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne and Trevor Nyakane.

    Serfontein is back following a late withdrawal from the Stormers match, whilst Botha, Labuschagne and Nyakane are all promoted off the bench into the starting team.

    The Springbok midfielder replaces Burger Odendaal, who drops to the bench in place of Akona Ndungane, while Botha swaps places with Pierre Spies at the back of the scrum. Nyakane starts in place of Dean Greyling, who injured his knee in a car crash.

    Labuschagne replaces Deon Stegmann, who is rested after 10 consecutive starts.

    Prop Andrew Beerwinkel could also make his debut as he is named on the bench.

    "We are getting into the rhythm to play the type of match we want to play," Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said when he announced the team in Pretoria on Thursday.

    "Our defence structure is good and we are very competitive in every match we play. We need to tweak some aspects of our game though, but I am confident that we are creating a style of play that will make us contenders in the play-off stages of the competition. All said, we need to show up against the Lions, who have shown their endurance and determination week after week."

    Matfield, who will captain the side for a South African and franchise record 84 times, pointed to the experience of his team.

    "We are facing a team who expresses their personality on the field, but we are also a squad that are proud of being the most successful local franchise ever. You are only as good as your last match though and we came up short then. We need a solid performance before we go on tour, so a win is pretty much non-negotiable."

    Kick-off for Saturdays clash at Loftus Versfeld is scheduled for 19:10.



    15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane

    Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morne Mellett, 18 Andrew Beerwinkel, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Pierre Spies, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Jurgen Visser


    15. Marnitz Boshoff, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Harold Vorster, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Andries Coetzee, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Jacques van Rooyen

    Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. MB Lusaseni, 20. Robert Kruger, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Alwyn Hollenbach, 23. Courtnall Skosan

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