Bulls ring the changes

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 08:33
Large deon stegmann presser Large jj engelbrecht bulls drinks Large akona ndungane high fives Large deon stegmann bulls2 Large akona ndungane h s 630

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made seven changes to his starting side to play the Blues in Auckland on Sunday.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made seven changes to his starting side to play the Blues in Auckland on Sunday.

It is the first of their four matches on their Australasian tour

The starting team shows changes at wing, centre, scrumhalf, loose forward, prop and hooker from the one that had the bonus point win over the Western Force last weekend, with injuries and the return to fitness the main reasons for that.

Injured wing Bjorn Basson is replaced by Lionel Mapoe, who moves from outside centre, where a fit again JJ Engelbrecht returns to the side.

Akona Ndungane is also back in action and will play in his first match of the season in place of Sampie Mastriet.

Jano Vermaak also earns a first start this season in place of Francois Hougaard, with the latter playing off the bench. Hougaard is struggling with an ankle strain.

Deon Stegmann returns to the fray having recovered from his hamstring strain and replaces Jacques Potgieter who moves to the bench. Potgieter takes the place of Jean Cook, who is not in the touring squad.

With both Werner Kruger and Chiliboy Ralepelle having small niggles, Ludeke opted to start with Frik Kirsten and Willie Wepener in the front row.

Ralepelle and Kruger will be joined on the bench by Super Rugby debutant, Jürgen Visser.

The versatile Blue Bulls player finally gets a chance to play Super Rugby following a stellar Currie Cup season last year.

"We have talked about our depth and this is a great opportunity to really test that," Ludeke said of his team selection.

"All the guys who start for the first time this season will be very keen and it will also give some respite to those who are feeling a bit sore after the first couple of matches."

The Blues will be a tough opponent, Ludeke said.

"Both their wins were well deserved. They play very enterprising rugby.

"We have been up and down and our aim will be to produce the good spells for longer. We also know we will have to pick up points on tour if we want to be around at the business end of the competition."

Milestones this week:
* Morné Steyn is South Africa’s leading points’ scorer in Super Rugby and could extend any of the following records: 1242 points; 213 conversions; 228 penalties and 23 drop-goals.
* Wynand Olivier will play in his 106th Super Rugby match, making his the country’s most experienced midfielder.
* Jano Vermaak will make only his second start since joining the Bulls in 2012. His last start was against the Blues on March 10, 2012.
* Willie Wepener will make his first start for the Bulls since joining them in 2012. All of his 15 matches since have been off the bench.
* Frik Kirsten will make his first ever start for the Bulls in his 18th appearances for the team.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Jürgen Visser.

Date: Sunday, March 10
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 16.05 (05.05 SA time; 03.05 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 23 September 2017
Sharks v Blue Bulls 13h00 Durban
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Sale Sharks 14h00 Allianz Park
Bath v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Recreation Ground
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 14h15 Sportsground
Western Province v Griquas 15h15 Newlands
Kings v Zebre 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 24 September 2017
London Irish v Northampton Saints 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 14h00 Sandy Park
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28