Bulls ring the changes

March 7, 2013
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Clearly not happy with the performance of his players against the Force, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made several changes to his team to face the Blues this weekend.

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made seven changes to his starting side to play the Blues in Auckland on Sunday in the first of their four match tour.

The starting team shows changes at wing, centre, scrumhalf, loose forward, prop and hooker from the one that had the bonus point win over the Western Force last weekend, with injuries and the return to fitness the main reasons for that.

Injured winger Bjorn Basson is replaced by Lionel Mapoe, who moves from outside centre, where a fit again JJ Engelbrecht returns to the side. Akona Ndungane is also back in action and will play in his first match of the season in place of Sampie Mastriet.

Jano Vermaak also earns a first start this season in place of Francois Hougaard, with the latter playing off the bench. Hougaard is struggling with an ankle strain.

Deon Stegmann returns to the fray having recovered from his hamstring strain and replaces Jacques Potgieter who moves to the bench. Potgieter takes the place of Jean Cook, who is not in the touring squad.

With both Werner Kruger and Chiliboy Ralepelle having small niggles, Ludeke opted to start with Frik Kirsten and Willie Wepener in the front row.

Ralepelle and Kruger will be joined on the bench by Super Rugby debutant, Jürgen Visser. The versatile Blue Bulls player finally gets a chance to play Super Rugby following a stellar Absa Currie Cup season last year.

“We have talked about our depth and this is a great opportunity to really test that,” Ludeke said of his team selection.

“All the guys who start for the first time this season will be very keen and it will also give some respite to those who are feeling a bit sore after the first couple of matches.”

The Blues will be a tough opponent, Ludeke said.

“Both their wins were well deserved. They play very enterprising rugby. We have been up and down and our aim will be to produce the good spells for longer. We also know we will have to pick up points on tour if we want to be around at the business end of the competition”.

The Vodacom Bulls team is (with Super Caps): Zane Kirchner (73), Akona Ndungane (84), JJ Engelbrecht (18), Wynand Olivier(105), Lionel Mapoe (30), Mornè Steyn (108), Jano Vermaak (90), Pierre Spies (91, c), Arno Botha (12), Deon Stegmann (61), Juandrè Kruger (19), Flip van der Merwe (50), Frik Kirsten (17), Willie Wepener (55), Mornè Mellett (2).

Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle (54), Werner Kruger (77), Grant Hattingh (11), Jacques Potgieter (14), Francois Hougaard (47), Louis Fouché (12), Jürgen Visser (0).

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7 Comments

  1. avatar Aldo says:
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Is it pessimistic or realistic if I do not give the Bulls the slightest of chances this weekend?

    I really hope to be wrong, but I cannot think that we have much of a chance. I reckon we should be able to get a bonus point, but that is all.

  2. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    March 7th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    At least Vermaak is getting a start at 9!

  3. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 7th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Reply to Aldo @ 11:27 am:

    After the hidings the Blue’s dished out against the Sader’s I’d have to say realistic…

    Here’s hoping though (that they can at least get a BP)…

  4. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 7th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Where is Willemse?

  5. avatar Boertjie says:
    March 7th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:14 pm:

    You don’t get BPs for losing by
    12 points or more, do you?

  6. avatar Jacques(Bunny)Die wat nie hier is nie is elders!! says:
    March 8th, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:29 am: yip with hougardt out maybe the bulls will have a better change than people think

  7. avatar DavidS says:
    March 8th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    I’m wondering whether Ludeke is not being the clever little bunny here and it’s not ringing changes but more a realization that in a tournament this stupidly long you need to work with a squad of players rather than a single core team. Kind of like European soccer teams playing UEFA, local league, local knockout and various exhibition tournaments and matches… all rugby differs by nowadays is we have no knockout tournaments and more internationals.

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