Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke included fit again Flip van der Merwe in the starting line-up for Fridayâ€™s Super Rugby clash against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Van der Merwe last played against the Crusaders in week seven of the competition where he injured his groin and will replace Wilhelm Steenkamp at lock. Steenkamp moves to the bench where he replaces England-bound Gerrit-Jan van Velze from the team that beat the Brumbies in their previous encounter two weeks ago.
In another swop, fit-again Dean Greyling moves back into the number one jersey, with Dawie Steyn, who debuted against the Brumbies, missing out altogether.
On the bench, Willie Wepener is also back in the fray, replacing Bongo Mbonambi.
The veteran hooker last played in week four against the Reds and was unavailable for selection due to his facial nerves being infected.
The same backline that played in the Bulls 36-34 victory over the Brumbies two weeks ago, will front again.
Deon Stegmann was close to selection, but Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke felt that the specialist fetcher needs some time on the training paddock first to get into the team patterns again.
â€śWe need to start well and everyone is aware of that,â€ť Ludeke said shortly after arrival in Melbourne.
â€śThe 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.â€ť
Vodacom Bulls captain, Pierre Spies, admitted to an air of expectancy in the camp.
â€śThis 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.â€ť
The Vodacom Bulls team (with Super caps) to play the Rebels: Zane Kirchner (62), Akona Ndungane (75), JJ Engelbrecht (8), Wynand Olivier (94), Bjorn Basson (33), MornĂ© Steyn (97), Francois Hougaard (36), Pierre Spies (80), Jacques Potgieter (8), CJ Stander (8), JuandrĂ© Kruger (8), Flip van der Merwe (40), Werner Kruger (66), Chiliboy Ralepelle (43), Dean Greyling (22). Replacements: Willie Wepener (44), Frik Kirsten (10), Wilhelm Steenkamp (43), Arno Botha (5), Jano Vermaak (80), Louis FouchĂ© (6), Johann Sadie (13).
â—ŹMornĂ© Steyn is playing in his 98th Super match and has scored 1101 points in the competition. This is a South African record for fly half caps and points scored. His 23 dropped goals is a tournament record. He has also scored 10 tries, 200 penalties and 191 conversions.
â—ŹWynand Olivier is the most capped South African centre in Super Rugby and will be playing in his 95th match. He has scored 28 tries, including a hat-trick against the Rebels in 2011.