Van der Merwe starts for Blue Bulls

Date published: September 2 2015

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais has named prop Marcel van der Merwe in his starting XV for Friday's Currie Cup match against the Free State Cheetahs.

Marais also has Francois Hougaard back in the XV after the scrum-half missed last week's win over Griquas due to personal reasons. He replaces Ivan van Zyl who moves back to the bench where centre Jan Serfontein is also included.

Hougaard's return is the only change in the backline, but Marais made three changes in the pack. Van der Merwe comes in for Werner Kruger, who is rested and a fit-again Roelof Smit comes in for Jannes Kirsten at flank, with the latter moving to the bench. In the other change, Dean Greyling will be replaced Pierre Schoeman. Greyling has a knee strain and with Schoeman fit and ready to go following a long injury lay-off, Marais decided to give Greyling a break.

U21 regular Schoeman will make his debut in the competition, but has played for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup.

Serfontein comes in for Dan Kriel, who will return to the U21 team.

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Jan Serfontein.

Date: Friday, September 4
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Francois Pretorius, Vusi Msibi
Television match official: Willie Vos