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Bulls

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Victor MatfieldJurgen VisserAkona NdunganeFrancois HougaardPaul WillemseBullsBongi MbonambiVodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to his starting line-up to face the Force in Perth on Saturday, with suspension, rotation and injury forcing his hand.

Three changes are at the back.

Jurgen Visser has recovered from the foot injury that ruled him out of the Waratahs clash shortly before kick-off and slots in at fullback, where he replaces Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard moves back to the base of the scrum following the knee-injury sustained by Piet van Zyl and a fit-again Akona Ndungane returns to his regular spot on the wing.

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Flip van der MerweBullsFlip van der Merwe has been suspended for 3 weeks, following a Judicial Hearing, following a punch on the weekend, against the Waratahs!

Hearing Details: Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 08:00 SA Time, 16:00 AEST, 18:00 NZ Time
Judicial Hearing Chairman: Adam Casselden
Player: Flip van der Merwe
Team: Bulls
Position: Lock
Date of Incident: 19 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow,shoulder, head or knee(s).
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 75th minute

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Piet van ZylBullsVodacom Bulls titness Report after Round 10:

Vodacom Bulls scrumhalf Piet van Zyl picked up a knee injury and will not play against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday, the last tour match of their 2014 overseas tour for the Pretoria team.

Van Zyl left the field against the Waratahs in Sydney last weekend and will be out of action for two weeks, Vodacom Bulls team doctor, Org Strauss, said on Monday.

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Flip van der MerweBullsVodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe has been passed fit to face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and will lead the team for their third tour match to Australasia.

This will be the first of two matches the Vodacom Bulls will play in Australia as part of their Vodacom Super Rugby tour.

Van der Merwe got injured in last weekend’s bonus point loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin, but has recovered sufficiently from his arm injury to lead the team.

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Frans LudekeBullsVodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke admits he will be again looking for reasons why his side dominated the possession stakes against the Highlanders and didn’t get the reward.

The Bulls had more than enough ball in their Vodacom Super Rugby game on Friday but defensive lapses and a lack of execution cost them as they went down 27-20 in Dunedin.

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Deon StegmannBullsThe men from Pretoria, the Vodacom Bulls, started strong and seemed in control of proceedings against the Highlanders. With lock Victor Matfield leading from the front, they were comfortably winning their lineouts and also won key scrum battles more often than not. (Photo of the man sorely missed on the left – Deon Stegmann)

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BullsWilliam Small-SmithVictor MatfieldJono RossJacques du PlessisGrant HattinghThe 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.

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BullsDewald PotgieterDeon StegmannThe Vodacom Bulls will limp into Queenstown on Monday to nurse their wounds and get themselves up and ready for Saturday’s second tour challenge against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The Bulls have chosen the holiday resort for a few days before heading to Dunedin on Thursday, and it couldn’t come at a better time as they lost both Dewald Potgieter (torn bicep) and Deon Stegmann (torn groin muscle) on Saturday.

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Victor VitoBrad ShieldsHurricanesVictor Vito and Brad Shields will pull on the Hurricanes jersey for the first time this season, as their team gears up to face the Bulls at Napier’s McLean Park on Saturday.

Both loose forwards have been out since the beginning of the season with knee injuries, and this weekend’s match will be their first of the 2014 Super Rugby season.

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Flip van der MerweVleis EngelbrechtVictor MatfieldVodacom 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.

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Super RugbyThe Cell C Sharks continued to stamp their authority in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition this weekend as they secured their fifth victory of the season, while the Vodacom Bulls allowed a fourth successive victory to slip through their fingers and the DHL Stormers stumbled in their final tour match.

A strong second-half showing by the Cell C Sharks combined with a flawless kicking performance by flyhalf Fred Zeilinga, who punished the Waratahs indiscipline, earned the team a 32-10 victory at Growthpoint Kings Park.

The victory allowed the team to remain in pole position on the combined log table.

The Vodacom Bulls, meanwhile, had their fourth consecutive victory in their sights until the last minute of their clash against defending champions, the Chiefs, at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, but a last-minute try by Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden and successful conversion by Gareth Anscombe forced them to settle for a disappointing 34-34 draw.

The team departs for their Australasian tour knowing that their defence, in particular, needs attention after allowing a 31-15 lead to slip against the Chiefs.

In Brisbane, the DHL Stormers were unsuccessful in their mission to complete their Australasian tour with a victory against the Reds as they went down 22-17 following defeats against the Crusaders, Chiefs and Brumbies.

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Victor MatfieldBullsThe Bulls’ 34-34 draw with defending Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs was akin to defeat, stand-in captain Victor Matfield said after the match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The hosts allowed the Chiefs to enforce the draw in the final 10 minutes of the match despite a 16-point advantage.

“Anything else than a victory at home feels like a loss, we’ll take the two points, it is against the champions but we should have had five,” Matfield said.

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ChiefsThe Chiefs have made eight changes to the team that lost to the Force in Perth for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Bulls Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

The Chiefs are attempting to win their third straight title – a threepeat – and suffered their first loss of the season last week.

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Akona NdunganeBullsVodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made one change to his team to face defending Vodacom Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs, at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Akona Ndungane, who missed last week’s win over the Sharks because of compassionate leave, is back in the team in place of Sampie Mastriet and will play in his 101st match of Super Rugby for the franchise.

Mastriet drops out of the match 23 altogether.

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Super RugbyThe Lions and Vodacom Bulls flew the South African flag in Vodacom Super Rugby this weekend when they scored come-from-behind home victories on Saturday.

The side from Johannesburg scored two late tries to deny the Reds by 23-20 after they were still behind by 20-3 shortly before the break at Ellis Park.

In the process, Lions flyhalf and kicking ace Marnitz Boshoff became the first player this season to reach 100 points when he kicked his second penalty goal in the 40th minute of the match.

In the final match of the weekend, the Cell C Sharks lost their first encounter of 2014 when they went down 23-19 to a determined Vodacom Bulls side at Loftus Versfeld.

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