Strauss back for Bulls

Date published: July 6 2016

Bulls head coach Nollis Marais has named Adriaan Strauss as captain of his team that will face the Sunwolves at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Strauss was rested in last weekend's Super Rugby match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, but is back to lead in what has become a must-win game for the home side if they are to keep alive an outside chance of making the play-offs.

The return of Strauss, in place of Bandise Maku, comes in an overhaul of the front-row from the XV that put in a disappointing showing in Argentina.

Prop Pierre Schoeman will start at loosehead in place of the injured Lizo Gqoboko while Werner Kruger will start at tighthead ahead of Marcel van der Merwe. Schoeman's seven appearances thus far in the competition all came as impact player.

The inclusion of Kruger will see the last appearance at Loftus Versfeld of the stalwart, who played 118 times for the Bulls.

The loose trio combination is also new. Renaldo Bothma starts at number eight, with Jannes Kirsten and Lappies Labuschagne the flankers.

In the backs, Jesse Kriel starts at full-back, with Dries Swanepoel pairing up with Burger Odendaal in the midfield. Piet van Zyl also returns to the scrum-half starting berth.

On the bench, Nqoba Mxoli will make his Bulls and Super Rugby debut if he takes to the field.

"We all know the deal," Marais said.

"We have to win and win well if we want to have any chance. And even then it could not be enough. So we owe it to ourselves and our fans to give it our best and deliver a performance they and we can be proud of."

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Nqoba Mxoli, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 SP Marais

Date: Saturday, July 9
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Willie Vos