Three changes for Bulls

Date published: March 5 2014

Bulls boss Frans Ludeke has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Blues in Pretoria.

Bulls boss Frans Ludeke has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Blues in Pretoria.

Akona Ndungane will become the ninth Bulls player to play 100 Super Rugby matches for the franchise.

The wing made his Super Rugby debut way back in 2005 against the Cats and earned his 50th cap for the Bulls in 2009, playing against the Reds in Pretoria.

Werner Kruger comes into the tighthead position for Frik Kirsten, who is suffering from a sore back.

Flanker Deon Stegmann will start for the first time in this year's competition. Stegmann has recovered from a groin strain and will replace Jono Ross at number six. Ross moves to number eight in place of Grant Hattingh.

Ludeke made one changes on the bench as well. A fit-again Mornè Mellett will make his first appearance for the team this year, replacing Kirsten.

“We are quite pleased to have Steggies back,” said Ludeke.

“He is an experienced campaigner and is not a Springbok for nothing.

“The Blues thrive on quick ball and Steggies will play a big role for us in slowing their ball down and creating turnovers.”

“It also allows Jono to move to his more natural position at the back of the scrum.”

Ludeke was full of praise for Ndungane.

“What a player to have in your side,” he said.

“He had to work so hard to get back into rugby after suffering two broken legs in a row and I think I speak on behalf of everyone in congratulating him on this milestone in his career.

“He has been exceptional for us and I am privileged to be his coach.”

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Date: Saturday, March 8
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)