Two new Bulls for Stormers
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 10:45
We are at home and would like to give our fans something to look forward to
Wing Lionel Mapoe and prop Morne Mellett will both make their debut for the Bulls in their Super Rugby opener against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
The two debutants form part of an otherwise experienced unit which includes two Super Rugby centurions and a host of players with more than 40 caps.
Mapoe has played 23 matches for the Lions and five for the Cheetahs before, whilst Mellett toured with the Bulls last year, but did not play in any matches.
Pierre Spies, who captains the side, is one of 11 players who have 40 caps or more at this level.
"We do have an experienced core of players this year and it is something that hopefully will benefit us," Ludeke said on Tuesday.
"Even Mornè Mellett, who will start in his first match, has toured with us and played well in last year's Currie Cup. In this competition one will always be looking at the experienced guys in your team and we are lucky to have a lot of those in important positions," Ludeke said in announcing his team.
Spies said they are looking forward to the start of the season, despite the fact that they are facing the Stormers, who won both encounters between the two sides in 2012.
"They are a formidable side, but this competition is all about measuring yourself against the best out there, as a team and on a personal level. It will be a massive game, as it is not only the traditional North/South derby, it is also two teams with good records in Super Rugby wanting to stake the first claim," Spies said.
"We are at home and would like to give our fans something to look forward to this season. The first step is to start well against the Stormers," he added.
Three Springboks, Dean Greyling, Akona Ndungane and Jacques Potgieter were not considered due to injury, whilst Emerging Springbok lock Wilhelm Steenkamp is also out of action of another two weeks due to a shoulder injury.
Ndungane twisted his ankle in a pre-season clash with the Cheetahs and will not be risked, which sees Mapoe get his first opportunity in the starting line-up, whilst Potgieter is still recovering from a groin niggle and is expected to be back in action next week.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Mornè Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Francois Venter.
Date: Friday, February 22
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rashivenga (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
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