Serfontein to start for Bulls

Date published: March 14 2017

Bulls coach Nollis Marais has made wholesale changes to his starting line-up to face the Sunwolves in Pretoria on Friday.

Marais has named different combinations in his back three, midfield, half-backs, loose trio, lock pairing and front row.

The Bulls will play their first match at home in this year’s Super Rugby tournament and will host the visitors from the Far East with a much changed side from the one that lost to the Cheetahs two weeks ago.

Amongst the backs, the return of Springbok World Cup midfielder Jan Serfontein is the most significant. He will play his 49th Super Rugby match, but only his first of the season, after a delayed start due to injury. He replaces Dries Swanepoel in the midfield.

Warrick Gelant will also earn a first start for the year in place of Jesse Kriel, who will start off the bench, while Piet van Zyl will start at scrum-half for the first time this season. Ivan van Zyl will deputise for his namesake in his debut for the season, with Rudy Paige being rested.

Up front, Lood de Jager, has now recovered from the concussion he sustained in the opening weekend of the season, and will start at lock with Jason Jenkins. RG Snyman reverts to the bench.

Renaldo Bothma is also promoted to a starting berth in place of Jacques Potgieter, who is rested due to concussion, while Pierre Schoeman and Lizo Gqoboko again trade jerseys, with the latter playing off the bench.

Edgar Marutlulle will make a first start at hooker in Super Rugby for the Bulls after playing off the bench in the first two weeks. He replaces Jaco Visagie, who drops out of the match day squad.

Two regulars from last season will make a first appearance off the bench. Adriaan Strauss and Jannes Kirsten recovered from injury and take over from Marutllule and Ruan Steenkamp respectively.

Steenkamp will start at six in place of Nick de Jager, who drops out of the match day squad.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handre Pollard (c), 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21  Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jesse Kriel

Date: Friday, March 17
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Mike Vos (South Africa)

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