Bulls change two for Rebels
The Vodacom Bulls have been boosted by the return of big Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe and prop Dean Greyling for their first Vodacom Super Rugby tour match against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday.
The two Boks return to bolster the Bulls, who have arrived for their first trip to Melbourne after a delay in Sydney saw them get to the hotel late on Tuesday night.
There was also good news in hooker Willie Wepener’s return to the bench, as he has overcome the viral infection that saw him miss three games but not so much luck for Bok flanker Deon Stegmann, who has been declared fit but who will be given another week before being unleashed back onto the park to join his teammates.
Van der Merwe and Greyling missed out on the match against the Brumbies and the Lions and will make a welcome return to the starting line-up, with Wilhelm Steenkamp and Dawie Steyn dropping to the bench respectively.
The match, which the Bulls see as a key element in their quest for a good overseas tour, has been penciled in as a must-win for the Pretoria side, with coach Frans Ludeke confident his team will perform.
“We need to start well and everyone is aware of that,” Ludeke said shortly after arrival in Melbourne.
“The Rebels are one of those teams who refuse to go away and we will need to play for 80 minutes to beat them. We have travelled well and in good spirits, so we are keen to play.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Pierre Spies, admitted to an air of expectancy in the camp.
“This is a new venue for us and the importance of getting the tour under way with a positive performance makes everyone very keen to get out there. The Rebels challenges you with good scrambling defence and have playmakers all round, so we need to focus on our strengths for this one.”
VODACOM BULLS: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies, Jacques Potgieter, CJ Stander, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Willie Wepener, Frik Kirsten, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouché, Johann Sadie.