Hougaard back at No.9 to face Force
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:57
We have to get back to winning ways
Francois Hougaard will start at scrumhalf when the Bulls clash with the Force in their Super Rugby Round 11 encounter in Perth on Saturday.
The 27-cap Springbok will start in the number nine jersey for the first time since the Bulls 20-25 loss to the Hurricanes in their first game on tour on April 5.
With the injury to Piet van Zyl, Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke shuffled his backline - aided by the return to fitness of wing Akona Ndungane after a hamstring injury.
Ndungane will start on the right wing, with Bjorn Basson shifting to the left wing to take up the spot Hougaard has vacated.
Jurgen Visser is back from injury too and will start as fullback after missing last week's 12-19 loss to the Waratahs. Ulrich Beyers drops to the bench.
There are two changes in the forward pack, as suspended captain Phillip van der Merwe is replaced by Paul Willemse at lock and Mbongeni Mbonambi comes into the line-up at hooker for his first ever Bulls run-on start.
Callie Visagie drops out of the matchday squad and Bandise Maku takes up the replacement hooker berth on the bench.
Should Maku take to the field, he will play in his 50th Super Rugby match. Of those, 19 have been for the Bulls, 14 for the Lions and 16 for the Southern Kings.
Jacques-Louis Potgieter will also play in his 50th Super Rugby match. He will represent the Bulls for the 23rd time, having also played for the Cheetahs 17 times and for the Sharks 10 times.
Former Southern Kings flank Wimpie van der Walt gets a spot on the bench and is poised to make his Bulls debut.
Ludeke knows the importance of this game; the last one on tour before the Bulls head home.
"We have to get back to winning ways and this is a final opportunity to turn our tour into a positive.
"If we can bag a win here and add the losing bonus points we collected earlier on tour, the reward would justify the hard work we have put in," Ludeke said.
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johannes 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 (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Jacques Engelbrecht, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Morné Mellet.
Date: Saturday, April 25
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.40 (09.40 GMT, 11.40 SAST)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia) , Matt O'Brien (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)
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