Cape Town - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is happy with the depth at his disposal as the Super Ruby season enters a critical phase.
Ludeke on Wednesday made five changes
to his team to face the Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard will make his return to the starting line-up for the first time since injuring his ankle in March. He replaces the in-form Jano Vermaak, who will supply cover from the bench.
Rising star Jan Serfontein has also recovered from an injury and will slot in at inside centre next to JJ Engelbrecht in the midfield.
Serfontein replaces Wynand Olivier, while Lionel Mapoe shifts to the wing in the place of Bjorn Basson, who is stuggling with illness this week.
In the two changes among the forwards, Frik Kirsten and Morne Mellett exchange places with Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling.
And while teams like the Stormers and Sharks are struggling with injuries, Ludeke said he is fortunate to be in a position to make these changes at this stage of the season.
"This is a game in which our work ethic needs to be incredibly high and everyone must be 100% ready," he told the Beeld website
"Therefore, we didn't consider players who were struggling a bit earlier in the week. But we have a core of about 28 players who are good enough to take this campaign forward.
"When we have guys feeling a bit under the weather, it's easy for us to make changes, and to give the players time to recover," said Ludeke.
The Bulls are currently third on the overall log
, and lead the South African conference.
Their clash against the Highlanders kicks off at 17:05 on Saturday.Teams:Bulls:
15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Bjorn Basson