The Vodacom Bulls will return former captain Dewald Potgieter to the starting line-up immediately in order to win Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Cell C Sharks.
The crucial fortnight that lies ahead can make or break their campaign, and a win against the Sharks will go a long way to bringing the team back into the race for the South African conference.
After the Sharks, the Bulls face the defending champion Chiefs before continuing their way overseas for their four- match tour. The momentum brought by back to back wins could well be used as a springboard to getting the team into a similar position as they were last year, where they made the semifinals.
The about-turn on Potgieter, who was dumped last year, may be astonishing but there is no doubting his credentials and the leadership skills he brings to the side.
As a result the Bulls are likely to make only one change to the starting line-up, bringing in Potgieter while the rest of the side stays the same.
This will mean that Jono Ross will drop down to the bench and Jacques Engelbrecht will drop out of the match 23 altogether.
And despite the temptation to rest Bok lock Victor Matfield, it seems the Bulls will use him for this game. That’s despite the fact he is a massive commodity with the dearth of five locks in South Africa.
Still, it provides an interesting choice for captain, with Flip van der Merwe likely to continue with the old heads of Matfield and Potgieter around him, and the Bulls looking to rebuild the momentum they have enjoyed in the competition in the last few seasons.
Jurgen Visser’s recovery from injury and Jan Serfontein’s niggles are history, meaning both will take their place with points machine Jacques-Louis Potgieter likely to go head to head with Pat Lambie and his former team this weekend in another massive tactical battle.
Fuelling the Bulls desire this weekend will be their inability to have executed well in Durban – a match where they did most of the playing but received little reward. The rain and their own defensive frailties saw the Sharks canter to an easy win in the opening round, but this is something the Bulls will want to overturn this coming weekend.
Possible Bulls team: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.