Bok skipper back to lead Bulls
Pretoria - Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Adriaan Strauss
as captain of his team to play the Sunwolves at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Springbok captain was rested in last weekend’s Super
Rugby match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, but is back to lead the team
in what has become a must-win match for the home side if they are to keep alive
an outside chance into the competition play-offs.
The return of Strauss, in place of Bandise Maku, comes in an
overhaul of the front row from the team that delivered a disappointing result
Prop Pierre Schoeman will start at loosehead in place of
injured Lizo Gqoboko, while Werner Kruger will start at tighthead in place of
Marcel van der Merwe. Schoeman’s seven appearances thus far in the competition
all came as impact player.
The inclusion of Werner Kruger will see the last appearance
at Loftus Versfeld of the stalwart, who played 118 times for the Bulls.
The loose trio combination is also new. Renaldo Bothma
starts at No 8, with Jannes Kirsten and Lappies Labuschagne the flankers.
Among the backs, Jesse Kriel starts at fullback, with Dries
Swanepoel pairing up with Burger Odendaal in the midfield. Piet van Zyl also
returns to the scrumhalf starting berth.
On the bench, Nqoba Mxoli will make his Bulls and Super
Rugby debut if he takes to the field.
“We all know the deal,” Marais said.
“We have to win and win well if we want to have any chance.
And even then it could not be enough. So we owe it to ourselves and our fans to
give it our best and deliver a performance they and we can be proud of,” said
Strauss warned against the Sunwolves.
“They have shown that they play 80 minutes and we had to dig
deep last time when we played them away. That said, we owe our fans at home
something positive. The season did not always smile upon us, but we are still
in the race and that is the focus for the weekend.”
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12
Dries Swanepoel, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8
Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason
Jenkins, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Nqoba Mxoli, 18 Marcel van
der Merwe, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Grant Hattingh, 21 Arno Botha, 22 Rudy
Paige, 23 Tian Schoeman