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Force change 4 for Bulls


The Emirates Western Force has made four changes to its starting XV to tackle the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday night.

Serfontein on Bulls bench


Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe will play in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match when his team takes on the Western Force at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Van der Merwe has played six of those for the Toyota Cheetahs whilst still a student in Bloemfontein and the commerce graduate has since reeled off 43 matches for the Bulls.

The lock will again combine with Juandrè Kruger in the engine room, but is behind them in the scrum where the most significant changes are to the team that beat the DHL Stormers last weekend.

Both Dewald Potgieter and Deon Stegmann picked up injuries in that win and will be replaced by Jacques Potgieter and Arno Botha respectively. Jean Cook comes into the reserves and will make his Super Rugby debut if he takes to the field.

In another change at the back, Lionel Mapoe moves from wing to outside centre in place of injured JJ Engelbrecht, with Akona Ndungane moving to the right wing berth for his 85th match in Bulls colours. Ndungane has been bracketed with Sampie Mastriet, with the latter to make his debut if Ndungane’s ankle injury flares up again.

Jan Serfontein has also been named on the bench, but has a hip strain and if ruled out, Francois Venter will again play in the number 22 shirt.

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was pleased to have experience to fall back on, but warned that it guarantees nothing against an opponent that has beaten the Bulls at Loftus before.

“Last week was last week. We are grateful for the win, but this week we face a new opponent that will post new challenges. The Western Force has been a difficult opponent in the past and will again ask questions to our all round game and our defence. We have prepared well though and will be looking forward to the challenge.”

Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies admitted that a good performance would be paramount for his side before they embark on their overseas leg of the competition.

“We cannot look past this match as it will determine the mind-set we will take onto tour. So this is a very important match for us,” Spies said.

The team to play the Western Force (with Super caps) is: Zane Kirchner (72), Akona Ndungane (84)/Sampie Mastriet (0), Lionel Mapoe (29), Wynand Olivier (104), Bjorn Basson (43), Mornè Steyn (107), Francois Hougaard (46), Pierre Spies (90, c), Arno Botha (11), Jacques Potgieter (13), Juandrè Kruger (18), Flip van der Merwe (49), Werner Kruger (76), Chiliboy Ralepelle (53), Mornè Mellett (1). Replacements: Willie Wepener (54), Frik Kirsten (16), Grant Hattingh (10), Jean Cook (0), Jano Vermaak (89), Louis Fouchè (10), Jan Serfontein (0)/Francois Venter (9).

Kings name team for Force


The Kings have named their team for their debut match in Super Rugby this weekend against the Force.

Cowan to captain Force in opener


Front row stalwart Pek Cowan will captain the new-look Emirates Western Force in their 2013 Super Rugby season opener against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Rebels team announced for Super Rugby opener


The RaboDirect Rebels have announced their side for their opening match against the Western Force at AAMI Park this Friday, with six new faces in the squad of 22.

Force team for Lions announced


The clash against former coach John Mitchell’s Lions will see just two changes to the starting 15 with Nick Cummins returning from injury and Alfie Mafi back in the side after an electrifying performance against the Rebels last week.

No changes for Force


The Emirates Western Force have named an unchanged line-up to attack the Sharks in Durban this Saturday with the side eager to finish their South African tour with a win.

Sharks unchanged for Force


The Sharks have the rare good fortune of being able to name an unchanged matchday 22 for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby showdown with the Force at Kings Park, according to Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.

Minimum changes to Force side


The Emirates Western Force has named a relatively unchanged side for their clash against the Cheetahs on Saturday evening in Bloemfontein with Richard Brown and Sam Wara elevated to the run on side from the bench.

Now Genia stays with Reds


Champion halfback and Queensland Reds vice-captain Will Genia has recommitted to Queensland Rugby until the end of season 2015, subject to ARU protocols.

Genia off to the Force


Queensland Rugby is disappointed it will farewell champion halfback and Reds vice-captain Will Genia at the end of the season, after he agreed to terms with the Western Force.

Force team to tackle Stormers


The Emirates Western Force will welcome back dynamic winger Napolioni Nalaga from injury as they set themselves for a clash against leading South African side the Stormers in Perth on Saturday.

Bekker to captain Stormers


The DHL Stormers were forced into a number of changes for their match against the Force this weekend.

Waratahs unchanged


Benn Robinson will lead an unchanged HSBC Waratahs side for the third match running as NSW today travel to Perth for a crucial clash with the Western Force.

Reds change a couple for Force


Queensland Reds openside flanker Liam Gill earns his second starting opportunity of 2012 while outside back Joel Rapana will make his Queensland provincial debut at outside centre in Saturday’s round six Super Rugby clash against the Western Force in Perth (kickoff 8:40pm AEST).

Rebels 30, Force 29


The home team lost in the dying seconds last week while the visitors recorded a famous victory in Sydney.  Prepare for a typical Ozzie scrap for top honours.

Jenkins start for Waratahs


Jono Jenkins will make his HSBC  Waratahs Super Rugby starting debut against his former club, the Western Force on Saturday.

Force pulls the plug on O’Connor


Star player James O’Connor has quit the Western Force after extensive negotiations between his management and the club failed this morning.

Force 13, Brumbies 13


Can the Brumbies bounce back and end the season on a high as they travel to Perth?

Waratahs 20, Force 15


The Force has the ability to shock any team on any day, will they do it in Sydney today against their Aussie rivals the Waratahs?

Force 30, Crusaders 42


Can the Force surprise another big gun in the competition when they welcome the Crusaders to Perth?

The art of losing


JJ Harmse takes a critical look at the Bulls’ woeful performances on tour in his Sport24 column.

Force 26, Bulls 21


The Vodacom Bulls have their backs against the wall.  Can the defending champs make it 2 from 4 on tour to keep themselves in the competition?

Sharpe commits to Force/Aussies


Australia veteran Nathan Sharpe has committed his future to the ARU and the Western Force.

Force 3, Waratahs 31


The Force have come close to beating a number of teams this season, will they finally put the nail in the coffin as they host the Tahs in Perth?

Force 25, Rebels 26


An all Aussie derby takes place in Perth where the Force will host the Rebels.

Stormers 51, Force 16 (Full Time)


The Stormers will look to secure their spot at the top of the SA Conference as they host the Force in Cape Town.

Elstadt injury concern


The young player who made the biggest impression for the Stormers in their 23-13 win over the Bulls last Saturday may be forced to sit out the next match against the Western Force at Newlands.

Force 22, Blues 22 (Full Time)


The Force are hurting after a disappointing display against the Sharks and will no doubt look to set the record straight against the high-flying Blues.

Sidey gets 3 weeks


Western Force center, Rory Sidey, can count himself lucky that he only received a 3 week suspension.

Sharks pay the price for victory


The Sharks paid a high price for their demolition of the Force this last weekend.

Sidey cited


Rory Sidey might be in more trouble as he will face a SANZAR judiciary hearing on Monday for his spear tackle on Sharks wing, Odwa Ndungane.

Force 12, Sharks 39 (Full time)


The Sharks can equal the Vodacom Bulls’ South African record of Vodacom Super Rugby victories over Australian  opposition when they take on the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

Reds 21, Force 20 (Final score)


Week 1 of the Super 15 concludes as the Reds takes on the Force in Brisbane.