Pollard rested as Bulls change seven for Rebels

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made seven changes to his starting team to face the Rebels in Melbourne on Saturday with Jacques-Louis Potgieter starting at 10.

There are three changes in the backline that faced the Brumbies last weekend and four in the forward pack.

Ludeke has chosen to rest Jurgen Visser, Bjorn Basson by naming them on the replacements bench and started Jesse Kriel and Travis Ismaiel instead.

Handre Pollard has been rested completely as he sits out this week as does Adriaan Strauss.

Strauss was not considered due to the resting agreement with SARU, resulting in Callie Visagie running onto the field for his 50th match for the Bulls in the number two jersey.

Jaco Visagie will be on the bench and he is joined by back-up flyhalf Tian Schoeman who joined the touring party on Tuesday.

In the pack, injured Deon Stegmann is replaced by Lappies Labuschagne, with Grant Hattingh moving to the bench to make way for Victor Matfield. The veteran lock will play in his 148th match at this level. In a straight swop, Jacques du Plessis starts at seven and Arno Botha moves to the bench.

According to Ludeke this is do or die for the team.

“We have not achieved the results we have hoped for this far on tour and we have to win this one to stay in the competition. In fact, we see this as a knock-out match. We cannot afford defeat and will go into this match in play-off mode.”

He is confident that the changes in the side will not impact their performances, especially as Pollard and Basson has started in all the matches so far.

“We have an excellent replacement in Pottie (Potgieter) as he has vast experience and is a proven competitor at this level. Bjorn is playing great rugby, but needs a break and Travis has shown his potential this far off the bench. It is great to have Victor back as the line-outs will be a key area for us,” Ludeke said.

Bulls

Jesse Kriel, Francois Hougaard, JJ Engelbrecht, Burger Odendaal, Travis Ismaiel, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Rudy Paige, Pierre Spies (c), Jacques du Plessis, Lappies Labuschagne, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe, Marcel van der Merwe, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling.

Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Trevor Nyakane, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh Arno Botha, Tian Schoeman, Bjorn Basson, Jurgen Visser .

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