Bulls boosted by Pollard’s return

Date published: April 16 2015

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has reshuffled his pack and recalled Handré Pollard at flyhalf for Saturday's clash with the Sharks in Durban.

Pollard, who replaces Jacques-Louis Potgieter in the only change to the backline that beat the Reds last weekend, was rested last week as per SARU arrangement.

In the pack, Ludeke have Adriaan Strauss back after the hooker was also rested against the Reds, while he also picked a new loose trio, lock combination and front row to face the coastal side in the visitor’s first return match in the South African conference.

In the front row, Strauss and Marcel van der Merwe will start with Dean Greyling, with Callie Visagie and Trevor Nyakane moving to the bench. The lock combination of Flip van der Merwe and Grant Hattingh will pack down together for the first time this year, with Jacques du Plessis moving to the side of the scrum, where he will partner Deon Stegmann and Pierre Spies.

A fit-again Lappies Labuschagne will start from the bench, alongside Arno Botha, who started at seven against the Reds. Hanro Liebenberg, Jaco Visagie and Potgieter are not involved this week.

“It will be a massive challenge for us, so to have the likes of Handré, Adriaan and Lappies back is great," said Ludeke.

"We will be facing a Sharks team what will be hurting and desperate to redeem themselves at home and I think it is fair to say that this will be our toughest assignment this year.

Bulls captain Pierre Spies is keen for his side to do well away from home.

“We will have to show the ability to win away from home consistently if we want to remain in the competition," he said.

"Durban is a tough place to play at and with so much at stake in the SA conference, we really cannot afford to play average rugby. This is going to be an epic local derby and we need to front up to it."

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Lappies Labuschagne, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, Jurgen Visser.

Date: Saturday, April 18
Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17:05 local (01:05 AEST, 03:05 NZST, 15:05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Marius Jonker