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    Botha back as Bulls change for Chiefs

    2017-03-30 10:00

    Pretoria - Arno Botha will make a first Super Rugby appearance of the season for the Bulls on Saturday when they take on the Chiefs in Hamilton. 

    Kick-off is at 08:35 SA time.

    The loose forward played in 11 matches in the competition last year and has 46 Super Rugby caps in his career, but he will be part of the Bulls match day squad for the first time this year.

    Botha comes in for injured Hanro Liebenberg at No 8 as coach Nollis Marais has made a couple of rotational changes from the side that lost to the Blues last weekend. 

    Jesse Kriel moves from centre to fullback in place of Warrick Gelant, who will play of the bench.

    Burger Odendaal is back in the run-on team, and as in their win over the Sunwolves last month, will start with Jan Serfontein in midfield, while at scrumhalf, Rudy Paige and Piet van Zyl swap jerseys, with Paige starting this time.

    The same happens up front at lock with RG Snyman and Jason Jenkins swapping, and at loosehead where Lizo Gqoboka and Pierre Schoeman rotate again.

    Jacobie Adriaanse, who missed out last weekend, is back on the bench in place of the injured John-Roy Jenkinson while Jaco Visagie and Edgar Marutlulle also swap places, with the latter on the bench. 

    "I am happy to have Arno back. He is a proven player at this level and I am very keen to see him contribute in what will be a very physical and robust match," Marais said.

    "Hanro did well so far, but Arno progressed really well after picking up an injury in pre-season and he will be keen to show why he played test match rugby for the Springboks.

    "We certainly have a lot to improve. We cannot be proud of that last 40 minutes we produced against the Blues. We are a better team than that and we have an opportunity against a great team to prove that.

    Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, shared that sentiment.

    "We are not doing justice to ourselves, we are not achieving the targets we set and we are disappointing our supporters," he said.

    "That said, this team is certainly good enough, but talk is cheap.

    "We need to go out and show that on the field. We could not have picked a more fitting place or opponent to do that than against the Chiefs at home, but we have to show that belief and justify the hard work done." 

    Strauss will extend his record as the most capped South African hooker in the tournament, playing in his 135th match.

    Teams:

    Chiefs

    15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi

    Substitutes: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Solomon Alaimalo

    Bulls

    15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman

    Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant

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