The Vodacom Bulls were forced into a late change to their backline and bench on Thursday when Akona Ndungane pulled a hamstring during the team’s captains run in Dunedin ahead of their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday.
Ndungane’s place will be taken by Francois Hougaard, who was picked at scrumhalf for this match. Piet van Zyl moves up from the bench to start at scrumhalf. Van Zyl’s place on the bench will be taken by Ulrich Beyers.
It will be Van Zyl’s first start at scrumhalf since he moved from the Toyota Cheetahs at the end of last season.
The match will also see Werner Kruger becoming the 10th Vodacom Bulls player to reach a century of Vodacom Super Rugby caps for the team. The other centurions for the franchise are Bakkies Botha (100), Akona Ndungane (102), Pierre Spies (103), Wynand Olivier (108), Fourie du Preez (112), Pedrie Wannenburg (113), Danie Rossouw (116), Victor Matfield (122) and Mornè Steyn (123).
The team to play the Highlanders (with Super Caps) is: Jurgen Visser (18), Bjorn Basson (62), JJ Engelbrecht (40), Jan Serfontein (19), Francois Hougaard (63), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (47), Piet van Zyl (38), Grant Hattingh (26), Jacques du Plessis (8), Jono Ross (10), Victor Matfield (130), Flip van der Merwe (68, c), Werner Kruger (99), Callie Visagie (30), Dean Greyling (45). Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi (7), Marcel van der Merwe (10), Morné Mellett (15), Paul Willemse (11), Jacques Engelbrecht (19), Handré Pollard (6), William Small-Smith (0), Ulrich Beyers (6).