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
"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.
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
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