Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh will make his first appearance for his team this season on Friday against the Toyota Cheetahs after being included in the side for the Bloemfontein clash.
Hattingh replaces Paul Willemse in the only change to the side that came up short against the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
Flanker Deon Stegmann remains unavailable for selection due to a groin strain and will again miss the match, with Jono Ross donning the number six jersey.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made it very clear that his team’s performance against the Sharks was not of acceptable standards en that they need to rectify that with a convincing performance against the Cheetahs.
“It was clear during our review that we totally underperformed and all accepted the fact that this was not even close to the standards we have set ourselves. We have put that behind us now, as we look towards the Cheetahs match with a positive and determined frame of mind. They also had a disappointing result and would like to bounce back.”
Ludeke confirmed his confidence in his player corps and the style of play.
“We know it will work, but then you have to apply it properly and execute your plays. This is something we will work on this week.”
Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies, is adamant that they not only need to deliver an improved performance for their fans, but also to themselves.
“We are a new group, but we need to maintain the standard of excellence that was set in the past. Last weekend’s performance did not measure up against those standards. We realise Super Rugby is a marathon, not a sprint, and that there will be hick-ups along the way, but we did let ourselves down with that start. The nice thing is that we can put the record straight immediately. The squad realise that and we will be a better team on Friday.”
The team for face the Cheetahs (with Super Rugby caps) is: Jurgen Visser (12), Akona Ndungane (97), JJ Engelbrecht (34), Jan Serfontein (13), Bjorn Basson (55), Louis Fouché (20), Francois Hougaard (57), Pierre Spies (k, 103), Jacques du Plessis (2), Jono Ross (5), Grant Hattingh (21), Flip van der Merwe (64), Werner Kruger (93), Callie Visagie (24), Dean Greyling (39). Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi (3), Frik Kirsten (32), Marcel van der Merwe (4), Victor Matfield (125), Jacques Engelbrecht (15), Piet van Zyl (33), Handré Pollard (1), Ulrich Beyers (2).