Bulls start Van Zyl at nine against Stormers

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has named his team to play the Stormers this weekend at Newlands and kept Francois Hougaard on the wing.

There has been much speculation that Hougaard could be moved from the wing to scrumhalf after Rudy Paige wa1s injured but the coach has started Piet van Zyl at 9.

Van Zyl’s selection in the starting team is his third start for the Bulls having started the Stormers in the 2015 Super Rutgby season opener.

Ludeke has also added Springbok midfielder Jan Serfontein to the starting as he is fit again after a hip flexor and will start in place of Burger Odendaal, who deputised for Serfontein the last four weeks.

The rest of the match day squad is the same who conquered the Sharks in Durban last weekend, with the exception of Akona Ndungane who takes Van Zyl’s spot on the bench.

“It does not come bigger than facing the Stormers in Cape Town. As our luck would have it, they have won their last two matches on tour in Australia and is playing at home for the first time in five weeks, so will be up for it. If we want to be a champion side, we will need to respond to this in a champion’s way,” the coach said.

Bulls captain Pierre Spies pointed to the set-piece as a possible match clincher.

“They outplayed us in the opening round, mainly because our set-piece was not as good. We have worked pretty hard since then and I honestly think our pack can now be measured against the best ones out there, especially since we have the likes of Flip van der Merwe and Arno Botha back to full fitness. We will have to be up for it and judging from training this week, we will.”

Bulls

Jesse Kriel, Francois Hougaard, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Handre Pollard, Piet van Zyl, Pierre Spies (c), Jacques du Plessis, Deon Stegmann, Grant Hattingh, Flip van der Merwe, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss, Dean Greyling.

Replacements: Callie Visagie, Morne Mellett, Trevor Nyakane, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne, Akona Ndungane, Tian Schoeman, Jurgen Visser.

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