Matfield headlines Bulls bolters

Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:59
Large victor matfield bulls gestu Large jacques louis potgieter Large victor matfield bulls trai2

Victor Matfield and Jacques-Louis Potgieter are among the big bolters in the Bulls team to face the Lions in a Super Rugby showdown.

Victor Matfield and Jacques-Louis Potgieter are among the big bolters in the Bulls team to face the Lions in a Super Rugby showdown at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who features at flyhalf, will make his first appearance in a Bulls starting XV since May 2010.

The 29-year-old pivot is one of four changes made to the starting side that came up short in Bloemfontein last weekend.

The other bolters will see lock Matfield start at lock for the first time since 2011, Grant Hattingh moving to No.8, and Frik Kirsten starting at tighthead.

Matfield takes over from Hattingh at lock.

Potgieter replaces Louis Fouché, who drops out of the match 23 altogether.

Hattingh moves from lock to the back of the scrum in place of Jacques Engelbrecht, who drops down to the replacement bench.

Kirsten swap places with Werner Kruger, with the latter on the bench for this match.

Matfield's place on the bench will be taken by Paul Willemse, with Wiaan Liebenberg missing out.

The versatile Potgieter last played for the Bulls as a replacement centre in the Final of the 2010 showpiece, when the home side beat the Stormers in Soweto for back-to-back Super Rugby titles.

Hattingh, who has played as a flank for the Bulls and the Lions in Super Rugby before, will start at No.8 for the first time.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believes the change in personnel will invigorate his side, who lacked composure in finishing off chances this far.

"Jacques-Louis [Potgieter] has 42 Super Rugby caps under his belt and need to show that for us, while we expect Victor [Matfield] to bring composure and calm to our set piece," Ludeke said.

"I am excited to see Grant [Hattingh] at No.8, he is a true footballer and read the play very well."

Flip van der Merwe, who took over the captaincy from Pierre Spies last week, will again lead the team into battle.

"We are way down on the standards we set for ourselves this season," Van der Merwe said at the team announcement in Pretoria on Wednesday.

"This will be our first home game of the season and we are pleased about it after two difficult weekends in Durban and Bloemfontein.

"We are facing a rampant Lions team though who are playing with passion, skill and precision. We need to match them in those areas if we want to record our first win of the tournament."

Ludeke said it is still early in the competition, but the Bulls have to be honest with themselves.

"We cannot afford a repeat of the first two weekends, where we were lethargic and inaccurate in our set plays.

"The Lions are high on confidence, so we need not only to start well, but play with belief and commitment."

* Matfield will extend his record of the most capped South African in Super Rugby to 127 matches. He is still behind Morné Steyn (123) as most capped Bulls player though, having earned eight of his caps as a Cats player in his debut year.

* Francois Hougaard is one try short from 100 Super Rugby points.

* Ludeke (118 matches) will extend his record as the most experienced South African coach in Super Rugby. He is also the most experienced of all 15 coaches in the competition.

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Date: Saturday, March 1
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 05h05 Sydney
Fri, 23 March 2018
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 17 March 2018
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Lions v Blues 35 | 38
Ireland v Scotland 28 | 8
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 3 3 0 0 15
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Waratahs 3 1 1 1 6
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4