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Baby Bok set for Super Debut

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:38
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Pollard out for six weeks
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South Africa under-20 loose forward Jacques du Plessis will make his Super Rugby debut if he gets on the field against the Stormers on Saturday.

The long-haired flank was hugely influential in the Junior Springboks getting to the semifinals of the Junior World Championships in France in June and has basically come straight from there into the Bulls set-up.

In a forced change, Francois Venter comes into the starting XV in place of the injured Jan Serfontein - who injured his knee in the Bulls win over the Sharks last week.

Venter, who came off the bench earlier in the season when the Bulls beat the Stormers 22-17 at Loftus Versfeld, has recovered from a groin operation and will be rearing to go.

Jano Vermaak is also back in the No.9 jersey following Francois Hougaard’s ankle injury and the 102-match veteran’s place on the bench will be taken by Rudy Paige.

The suspension of Wilhelm Steenkamp opened the door for 19-year-old Jacques du Plessis, who could make his debut for the Bulls after he was included as replacement lock.

"We have one more box to tick to reach our goal of finishing top of the log after regular play," Ludeke said on Wednesday.

"I am pleased to include someone like Swys [Venter] as he has proved himself at this level and will be itching to play after a successful recovery from his groin operation.

"We are all very excited for Jacques [Du Plessis]. He has been training with us all season and he will be very keen to use this opportunity. Jano’s {Vermaak] form has earned him a test cap this season, so he will be keen to stamp his authority on the match," Ludeke said.

According to Bulls captain, Dewald Potgieter, his team will have to make a step-up in their approach and execution if they want to beat the Stormers and finish the season top of the log.

"We did not react well in certain situations when placed under pressure last weekend and will have to improve on that.

"The Stormers have momentum and the home crowd on their side and this being the big North/South derby we will have to front up. It is fair to say that this will be our biggest test this season," Potgieter added.

* Meanwhile the Bulls confirmed that star centre Handrè Pollard has been ruled out for six weeks, following his training ground mishap.

The Blue Bulls pivot injured his shoulder during a training session on Monday and further scans revealed a grade three tear of the AC joint in his right shoulder.

He will have to undergo rehabilitation and will be out of rugby for six weeks.

The Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Morné Mellet, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jürgen Visser.

Date: Saturday, 13 July
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Linston Manuels (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

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