Pretoria - The Bulls have been bolstered by the availability of flank Jacques Potgieter for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.
Potgieter made his debut for the Springboks against England last weekend and look set to continue that form into the rematch against the Cheetahs.
The Bulls won the first fixture between the two sides in Bloemfontein way back in March and coach Frans Ludeke again picked all his big guns for this clash.
Potgieter, who picked up a knee injury during their overseas leg of the competition, just missed out on selection for the match against the Stormers on June 2 and is the only change to the starting team from that day.
He replaces CJ Stander, who moves to the bench, with Arno Botha dropping out altogether.
Fit-again Frik Kirsten is the other change, replacing Rayno Gerber on the bench. The versatile prop recovered from a broken hand, also sustained on the Australian leg of the overseas tour.
Ludeke admitted that they enter a difficult and crucial phase of the competition, but dismissed fears that some of his players have lost form during the international season.
“We are lucky to have all our players back from international duty injury free and ready to go. The series win against England will do wonders for their confidence, while those not involved with the Boks are refreshed and ready to go,” Ludeke said.
“Our Springboks are not international players for nothing, they have the mental strength to recover quickly from disappointing performances.”
This was echoed by Pierre Spies, who played in his 50th Test match for the Springboks last weekend.
“You learn to put the mistakes behind you and to work harder if things did not go your way. We have little option but to keep on winning to stay in contention for the play-offs. There is certainly enough energy and expectation in the squad to do exactly that. It is great to be back in blue and to play in front of our passionate supporters,” Spies said.
• Mornè Steyn has scored 1 166 points in Super Rugby, the most of any South African and any points scored will extend that record. He also holds the record for most dropped goals in the tournament (24).
• Wynand Olivier will play in his 100th match for the Bulls. He is the most experienced South African midfielder in Super Rugby.
• Willie Wepener will play in his 50th Super Rugby match if he takes the field. He played 40 times for the Cats and Lions and nine times for the Bulls.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Francois Venter
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 WP Nel, 18 George Earle, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers