Returning Boks boost Bulls
Pretoria - The Bulls team to play the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (kick-off is at 19:10) has been bolstered by the return
of two experienced campaigners, with Akona Ndungane and Flip van der
Merwe back in the starting line-up.
Ndungane has recovered from the eye socket injury sustained against the
Crusaders four weeks ago and will start in his 87th Super Rugby match
for the three-time champions, while Van der Merwe, who picked up a chest
muscle injury in the same Christchurch clash, will appear in his 53rd
Super Rugby match, with six of those in Cheetahs colours earlier in his
They replace Jürgen Visser and Paul Willemse respectively, with Visser
taking over at fullback from injured Zane Kirchner and Willemse moving
to the bench.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke also made a tactical switch from the
side that suffered a last gasp defeat against the Brumbies two weeks
ago, with Frik Kirsten starting at tighthead and veteran prop Werner
Kruger playing off the bench.
“We are happy with the squad rotation and with a couple of stalwarts
still out injured, has given some of our youngsters good opportunities
to play,” Ludeke said.
“We feel that we left some points on the road, but now have a good
stretch back home where we play ourselves back into those important
playoff positions,” Ludeke said.
“The rest did wonders to all and I am pleased with the way we prepared
for this one.”
The match could also see a first Bulls appearance for scrumhalf
Rudy Paige and utility back Ulrich Beyers, while Lions loan player
Callie Visagie has been drafted in to give Willie Wepener a rest.
With Francois Hougaard still nursing an ankle injury, Paige will back-up
Jano Vermaak and Beyers will replace Francois Venter as a backline
Bulls captain Pierre Spies admitted that it will be good playing in front of their home support again.
“We will certainly need all the support we can get against a Cheetahs
side that is playing with a lot of confidence and momentum. History
counts for nothing in this one, so past performances will have no
bearing on this clash. We will have to front up from the first minute of
play to the last. The Cheetahs play for 80 minutes and we need to make
sure we play our style and on our terms.”
15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan
Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8
Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré
Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy
Ralepelle, 1 Morné Mellet
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie,
17 Werner Kruger, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Rudy Paige,
21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Ulrich Beyers