Bulls get one Bok back, rest another

Date published: April 9 2015

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made two changes to his starting XV for Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Reds at Loftus Versfeld.

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss is given a rest in compliance with the Springbok rest agreement with the five franchises and Callie Visagie will start in the number two jersey. This will be Visagie's first start of the season. His place on the bench will be taken by Jaco Visagie, who on two previous occasions this season did bench duty.

The other change from the side that came up short in Johannesburg against the Lions is at flank, where a fit-again Arno Botha will replace Hanro Liebenberg at flank. Botha recovered from a hamstring strain, with Liebenberg replacing Roelof Smit on the bench.

Another new face on the bench is that of Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe, who replaces Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg. Van der Merwe missed the first half of the season due to a pectoral muscle tear, but is keen to add to his 72 caps in the competition.

"It is great to have Flip back," said Ludeke.

"He does not only provide a physical presence and some real grunt up front, he is also an important leader in the squad and with Victor (Matfield) out for a couple of weeks, Flip's return could not come at a better time. “

The coach also opted to give Handré Pollard and Jan Serfontein another week off, with the latter also rested due to the SARU arrangement.

"We have some big games and a tour coming up and I would like both of them to be 100 percent fit for that," said the coach.

"Both Jacques-Louis (Potgieter) and Burger (Odendaal) played well when called upon and I am happy to give them another opportunity. You need your whole squad to contribute to be successful in this competition."

Bulls captain Pierre Spies was adamant that their low log position does not mean that the Reds will be an easy opponent.

"They are desperate to get their season going and teams like that are always dangerous," he said.

"They have some classy players in their team and if they are on song on the day, they can destroy you in a blink. We will have to play all the big moments well, but will also have to force our style of play on them and dictate the terms. That will require commitment and discipline," added Spies.

Bulls prop Trevor Nyakane will play in his 50th Super Rugby match on Saturday, with 42 of those appearances coming in the colours of the Cheetahs.

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Callie Visagie ,1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jurgen Visser.

Date: Saturday, April 11
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT, 03:10 AEST, 05:10 NZST)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Pro Legoete (both South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)