Pretoria - Akona Ndungane will become the ninth Bulls player to play 100 Super Rugby matches for the franchise when they take on the Blues at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (17:05 kick-off).
The stalwart wing made his Super Rugby debut way back in 2005 against the Cats and earned his 50th cap for the Bulls in 2009, playing against the Reds in Pretoria.
Ndungane, who scored against the Blues in last year’s win in Auckland, will start in an unchanged backline, as all three changes to the starting line-up made by Bulls coach Frans Ludeke
, are in the forward pack.Werner Kruger
comes into the tighthead position for Frik Kirsten
, who is suffering from a sore back.
Flank Deon Stegmann
will start for the first time in this year’s competition. Stegmann has recovered from a groin strain and will replace Jono Ross
at No 6. Ross moves to No 8 in place of Grant Hattingh
Ludeke made one change on the bench as well, with a fit-again Morné Mellett to make his first appearance for the team this year, replacing Kirsten.
“We are quite pleased to have Steggies (Stegmann) back. He is an experienced campaigner and is not a Springbok for nothing.
"The Blues thrive on quick ball and Steggies will play a big role for us in slowing their ball down and creating turnovers,” said Ludeke said.
“It also allows Jono to move to his more natural position at the back of the scrum.”
Ludeke was full of praise for Ndungane.
“What a player to have in your side.
"He had to work so hard to get back into rugby after suffering two broken legs in a row and I think I speak on behalf of everyone in congratulating him on this milestone in his career.
"He has been exceptional for us and I am privileged to be his coach,” said Ludeke.
List of South
African Vodacom Super Rugby centurions:
127: Victor Matfield (Cats 8,
125: AJ Venter (Cats 19,
Sharks 96, Stormers 10) and John Smit (Sharks)
123: Morné Steyn (Bulls)
122: Stefan Terblanche
118: Bryan Habana (Bulls 61,
116: Danie Rossouw (Bulls),
Jannie du Plessis (Cheetahs 26, Sharks 90)
114: Jacques Botes (Sharks)
113: Pedrie Wannenburg
(Bulls), Adi Jacobs (Bulls 21, Cats 4, Sharks 88)
112: Fourie du Preez (Bulls)
110: Wynand Olivier (Bulls)
108: Ollie le Roux (Natal 24,
Sharks 60, Cats 3, Cheetahs 21), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs 61, Sharks 47)
107: Odwa Ndungane (Bulls 10,
105: Bismarck du Plessis
104: Andries Bekker
(Stormers), Jano Vermaak (Cats 11, Lions 62, Bulls 31)
103: Pierre Spies (Bulls)
102: Albert van den Berg (Cats
7, Sharks 95)
100: Bakkies Botha (Bulls)Teams:Bulls:
15 Jurgen Visser
, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht
, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson
, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard
, 8 Jono Ross
, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann
, 5 Victor Matfield
, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Werner Kruger
, 2 Callie Visagie
, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi
, 17 Morné Mellett , 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse
, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich BeyersBlues: