Pretoria - Jano Vermaak will make his first start for the Bulls on Saturday when the home side play the Blues at Loftus Versfeld. Kick-off is at 19:10.
Vermaak made his first Bulls appearance as a replacement in last weekend’s 51-19 romp over the Cheetahs and will replace the suspended Francois Hougaard at scrumhalf.
It is the only change from the run-on side that kept their unbeaten record in Bloemfontein intact, with Ruan Snyman taking over from Vermaak on the bench.
Vermaak has made 73 Super Rugby appearances for the Cats and Lions since 2006 and joined the Bulls after the 2011 season.
“It is exciting to get the chance to play. It is something that I wanted to do for a long time and I hope to make the most of the opportunity,” Vermaak said of his inclusion.
“The Blues are a strong side full of internationals, but that is the big challenge. One wants to test yourself against the best players in the world and Super Rugby allows you to do that.”
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was confident in his halfback’s abilities: “Jano is one of the best scrumhalves in the competition and has a proven record at this level. His experience, temperament and solid skill set make him the ideal replacement for Francois (Hougaard),” Ludeke said.
He rates the Blues as one of the most dangerous sides in the competition: “They have firepower in the pack and firepower at the back. Adding to their ability in broken play, they have a very solid kicking game and good set phases. They will be a severe test of our abilities,” Ludeke said.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré 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 Ruan Snyman, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht