Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke included fit-again lock and regular captain, Flip van der Merwe, for his side’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Napier on Saturday.
The 67 cap lock takes over the captaincy and number five jersey from Victor Matfield in one of two changes to the starting pack that played against the Chiefs. In the other, Jacques Engelbrecht comes in at number 8, with Dewald Potgieter moving to the side of the scrum in place of Jacques du Plessis, who moves to the bench.
Matfield and Jono Ross do not feature in the match day 23.
“We are looking to start rotating players from now on and with the depth we have in the squad, it is something I don’t mind doing,” Ludeke said.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Matfield will only play on tour when there is an injury to the other locks and will instead join the coaching staff on this trip. It was all decided on when the lock’s return to rugby was negotiated.
The Bulls departed Johannesburg yesterday afternoon and will only arrive in Wellington late Wednesday night New Zealand time, giving them one training session before heading to Napier.
Vodacom Bulls (with Super caps): 15 Jurgen Visser (17), 14 Akona Ndungane (101), 13 JJ Engelbrecht (39), 12 Jan Serfontein (18), 11 Bjorn Basson (61), 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter (46), 9 Francois Hougaard (62), 8 Jacques Engelbrecht (18), 7 Dewald Potgieter (69), 6 Deon Stegmann (78), 5 Flip van der Merwe (67, Captain), 4 Paul Willemse (10), 3 Werner Kruger (98), 2 Callie Visagie (29), 1 Dean Greyling (44)
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi (7), 17 Marcel van der Merwe (9), 18 Morné Mellett (15), 19 Grant Hattingh (25), 20 Jacques du Plessis (7), 21 Piet van Zyl (37), 22 Handré Pollard (5), 23 Ulrich Beyers (5).