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    Matfield handed Bulls reins

    2014-04-23 13:08
    Cape Town - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to his starting line-up to face the Force in Perth on Saturday, with suspension, rotation and injury forcing his hand.

    Three changes are at the back.

    Jurgen Visser has recovered from the foot injury that ruled him out of the Waratahs clash shortly before kick-off and slots in at fullback, where he replaces Ulrich Beyers.

    Francois Hougaard moves back to the base of the scrum following the knee-injury sustained by Piet van Zyl and a fit-again Akona Ndungane returns to his regular spot on the wing.

    Ludeke also made two changes to his pack.

    Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for three weeks following a citing for striking an opponent in last weekend's match against the Waratahs and will be replaced by Paul Willemse, with Victor Matfield taking over the captaincy.

    In the other change, Ludeke gave Bongi Mbonambi a first start at hooker, with regular Callie Visagie rested. Bandise Maku will make a first appearance this season on the bench.

    Ludeke also re-jigged his bench, where Wimpie van der Walt will get a first run in Bulls colours if he takes to the field. Beyers replaces William Small-Smith as utility back.

    "We have to get back to winning ways and this is a final opportunity to turn our tour into a positive. If we can bag a win here and add the losing bonus points we collected earlier on tour, the reward would justify the hard work we have put in," said Ludeke.

    Kick-off for Saturday's clash is at 11:00 SA time.

    Teams:

    Force:

    TBA

    Bulls:

    15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling

    Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Mornè Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handrè Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers

    Milestones:

    •    Victor Matfield will extend his South African record for Super Rugby caps to 133 and his record as captain for a franchise to 79. He will also extend his record as most experienced Bulls player to 125 matches.
    •    Bongi Mbonambi will make his first start for the Bulls, having made his all appearances off the bench.
    •    Bandise Maku, should he takes to the field, will play in his 50th Super Rugby match. Of those 19 were for the Bulls, 14 for the Lions and 16 for the Kings. This will also be his first appearance for the Bulls in 2014.
    •    Jacques-Louis Potgieter will also play in his 50th Super Rugby match. He will represent the Bulls for the 23rd time, having also played for the Cheetahs 17 times and for the Cell C Sharks 10 times.
    •    Wimpie van der Walt, should he takes to the field, will make his Bulls debut. He played 15 times for the Kings in 2013.

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