Serfontein brings up half-ton in North Harbour

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:25

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok midfielder Jan Serfontein will make a 50th appearance for the Bulls in North Harbour on Saturday.

The Bulls will face the Blues in a Super Rugby Round Five match.

The midfielder, who made a strong return to Super Rugby last weekend with a brace of tries against the Sunwolves, will move to inside centre for this match - after starting in the No.13 jersey last weekend.

He will combine with Jesse Kriel in this first tour match in New Zealand.

Serfontein scored two tries for the Bulls in their last appearance against the Blues in New Zealand and along with Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane are the only players in the team who also started in their last match against the Blues in 2015.

Nyakane was at loosehead, that day and Kriel played fullback.

Kriel's inclusion is the only change to the starting backline from the Sunwolves clash.

However, amongst the forwards coach Nollis Marais included regular captain Adriaan Strauss, who will not only take the No.2 jersey from Edgar Marutlulle, but also the captaincy from Pollard.

The coach also swapped around Lizo Gqoboka and Pierre Schoeman as per rotation policy and included Nick de Jager on flank in place of suspended Renaldo Bothma.

The bench will see five changes.

Jaco Visagie (for Strauss, with Marutlulle dropping out), Schoeman (for Gqoboka), Rudy Paige (for Ivan van Zyl) and Odendaal (for Kriel) are all new to the weekend's bench.

A potential debutant for the Bulls is John-Roy Jenkinson, who takes over from Jacobie Adriaanse.

It could be a first Super Rugby appearance for the former Junior Springbok prop, who earned more than 40 provincial caps for the Leopards while completing his studies at NWU-Pukke.

Strauss will extend his South African record for appearances as a hooker in the Super Rugby competition to 134.

The Bulls have only beaten the Blues at home on one occasion, in 2013, and lost 10 times.

In fact, that win was the last time the visitors won in New Zealand, out of the last 10 played in that country.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Rudolph Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 John-Roy Jenkinson.

Date: Saturday, March 25
Venue: QBE Stadium, North Harbour
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT; 08.35 SA time)
Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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