Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Youngsters Arno Botha and Jan Serfontein and the experienced Werner Kruger and Lionel Mapoe are included in the run-on side.
All four were on the bench last weekend when the Bulls beat the Sharks in Durban, but they now replace Dewald Potgieter, Wynand Olivier, Frik Kirsten and Akona Ndungane respectively.
Potgieter and Kirsten will play off the bench, while Olivier drops out of the matchday 22. Ndungane did not recover from a lower leg injury in time.
Zane Kirchner will make his comeback off the bench following his finger injury and Louis FouchÃ¨ has been cleared of the hip injury that saw him miss the encounter in Durban. Callie Visagie also rotates with Willie Wepener as back-up hooker.
Ludeke stressed the importance of a good performance against the Cheetahs, the other South African side currently in a play-off position.
“We can do ourselves a lot of favours by beating the Cheetahs this weekend, especially ahead of the three weeks break,” he said.
“We will have a number of players involved in the Test series and you never know in what shape they will come back.
“We need to put ourselves in the best possible position before the break and a win in Bloemfontein will do that.”
Bulls captain, Pierre Spies, said previous performances against the Cheetahs mean nothing.
“The fact that we have beaten them earlier in the season counts for nothing,” he explained.
“They play on their home turf and although we have done well there in the past, that is not worth any points on the scoreboard.
“We need to go out there, impose ourselves and play the right type of rugby we know we are capable of.
“It is a massive challenge, but this team thrive on those.”
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie , 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Dewald Potgieter, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Zane Kirchner.
Date: Saturday June 1
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Francois de Bruin
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee