The Vodacom Bulls have made known, through their official Facebook Page, the names of the team to take on the Highlanders on Friday 11 April 2014.
As expected after the injuries to Dewald Potgieter and Deon Stegmann, who both have had to return to South Africa as a result of longer term injuries, Grant Hattingh gets the nod at No 8, with Jono Ross selected at openside flank (No 6) and with Jacques du Plessis at blindside flank (No 7).
Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht reverts to the bench.
As we’ve seen in the opening rounds of this year’s competition, Jono Ross struggles to fullfill the role of openside flanker and it might have been far more prudent to include either Wiaan Liebenberg or Wimpie van der Walt in this crucial position, to give the Bulls looseforward combination the vital balance required in the loosies.
Victor Matfield also returns to the starting lineup at No 5 lock, despite initial indications that he is on tour only as lock injury backup. Flip van der Merwe moves to No 4 lock and retains the captaincy, whilst Paul Willemse is relegated to the bench.
Good news for a lot of Bulls supporters is that William Small-Smith is included on the bench as utility back.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 J J Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (Captain), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel vd Merwe, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 William Small-Smith, 23 Morné Mellet.
Coach: Frans Ludeke
Team manager: Tim Dlulane
Date: Friday 11 April
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-Off: 09: 35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)