Serfontein back for Bulls

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 09:58

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Bulls coach Nollis Marais has made wholesale changes to his team to face the Sunwolves at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday.

The Bulls will play their first match at home in this year's Super Rugby tournament and will host the visitors from the Far East with a much-changed side from the one that lost to the Cheetahs two weeks ago.
 
Amongst the backs, the return of Springbok World Cup midfielder Jan Serfontein is the most significant. He will play his 49th Super Rugby match, but only his first in the season, after a delayed start due to injury. He replaces Dries Swanepoel in the midfield. 
 
Warrick Gelant will also earn a first start for the year in place of Jesse Kriel, who will start off the bench, while Piet van Zyl will start at scrumhalf for the first time this season. Ivan van Zyl will deputise for his namesake in his debut for the season, with Rudy Paige being rested. 
 
Up front, Lodewyk de Jager has now recovered from the concussion he sustained in the opening weekend of the season and will start at lock with Jason Jenkins. Rudolph Snyman reverts to the bench. Renaldo Bothma is also promoted to a starting berth in place of Jacques Potgieter, who is rested due to concussion, while Pierre Schoeman and Lizo Gqoboko again trade jerseys, with the latter playing off the bench.
 
Edgar Marutlulle will make a first start at hooker in Super Rugby for the Bulls after playing off the bench in the first two weeks. He replaces Jaco Visagie, who drops out of the matchday squad.
 
Two regulars from last season will make a first appearance off the bench. Adriaan Strauss and Jannes Kirsten recovered from injury and take over from Marutllule and Ruan Steenkamp respectively.
 
Steenkamp will start at No.6 in place of Nick de Jager, who drops out of the matchday squad.
 
According to Marais, the return of so many fit players allowed him to make wholesale changes.
 
"The likes of Jan [Serfontein] will be keen to get going, while those who is starting for the first time this season will enjoy the extended time on the field," said Marais.

"I believe this will freshen up our effort, which did not deliver the right results for us in the opening two matches. The Sunwolves were unlucky against the Cheetahs and gave the guys in Bloem a bigger fright than we did. We cannot underestimate them and there can be no excuses, but for us to deliver a good performance."
 
Bulls captain Handré Pollard welcomed the fact that they will be playing at Loftus Versfeld for the first time.
 
"This is our home and we cannot slip up here, especially if we want to bring the crowds back to Loftus. We had a slow start, but I am confident that we will pick up the pace from here and will be running with the leading pack soon," said Pollard.
 
"There was good energy in training the last couple of days and I am keen to see how the guys perform Friday night."
 
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 13 Jamba Ulengo, 12 Handré Pollard (captain), 11 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman. 
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboko, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jesse Kriel.

Date: Friday, March 17
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.00 (15.00 GMT; 02.00 Saturday, March 18 JST)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Stuart Berry
TMO: Willie Vos

Highlanders vs Waratahs
sast: 09h35 | local: 19h35

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19