Bulls recall Pollard and Strauss for Sharks clash

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has named his team to play the Sharks in Durban and shuffled his pack and recalled Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard.

Bok flyhalf Pollard was rested last week but is back in the starting team and has replaced Jacques-Louis Potgieter in the only change to the backline that beat the Reds last weekend at Loftus.

In the pack, Ludeke has also recalled Adriaan Strauss after the hooker was rested against the Reds and he also named a new loose trio, lock combination and front row to face the coastal side in the visitor’s first return match in the South African conference.

In the front row, Strauss and Marcel van der Merwe will start with Dean Greyling, with Callie Visagie and Trevor Nyakane moving to the bench.

The lock combination of Flip van der Merwe and Grant Hattingh will pack down together for the first time this year, with Jacques du Plessis moving to the side of the scrum, where he will partner Deon Stegmann and Pierre Spies.

A fit-again Lappies Labuschagne will start from the bench, alongside Arno Botha, who started at seven against the Reds.

“It will be a massive challenge for us, so to have the likes of Handre, Adriaan and Lappies back is great. We will be facing a Sharks team what will be hurting and desperate to redeem themselves at home and I think it is fair to say that this will be our toughest assignment this year,” said Ludeke.

Bulls captain Pierre Spies is keen for his side to do well away from home.

“We will have to show the ability to win away from home consistently if we want to remain in the competition. Durban is a tough place to play at and with so much at stake in the SA conference, we really cannot afford to play average rugby. This is going to be an epic local derby and we need to front up to it,” Spies said.

Hanro Liebenberg, Jaco Visagie and Jacques-Louis Potgieter are not involved this week.

Bulls

15 Jesse Kriel , 14 Francois Hougaard , 13 JJ Engelbrecht , 12 Burger Odendaal , 11 Bjorn Basson , 10 Handre Pollard , 9 Rudy Paige , 8 Pierre Spies ( C ) , 7 Jacques du Plessis , 6 Deon Stegmann , 5 Grant Hattingh , 4 Flip vd Merwe , 3 Marcel vd Merwe , 2 Adriaan Strauss , 1 Dean Greyling

Replacements : 16 Callie Visagie , 17 Morne Mellet , 18 Arno Botha , 19 Lappies Labuschagne , 20 Piet van Zyl , 21 Tian Schoeman , 22 Jurgen Visser , 23 Trevor Nyakane

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