Paige to make Bulls starting debut against Sharks

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has named his Super Rugby team to play the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday with scrumhalf Rudy Paige earning his first Super Rugby start.

Paige has already won nine Super Rugby caps for the Bulls but all of them have come off the bench but this week he replaces Piet van Zyl who drops out of the squad altogether.

Travis Ismaiel comes in for Paige on the bench and should he take to the field, the former Junior Springbok winger will make his debut for the team.

Tian Schoeman was also drafted in on the bench with Jacques-Louis Potgieter a late withdrawl.

“Rudy has been playing well and we feel his game is best suited for this week and opponent, ” Ludeke explained.

A fit-again Marcel van der Merwe will also been eased in from the bench.

“We have started poorly, no doubt and we have put ourselves under pressure, even if it is early in the competition, ” Ludeke said.

“One cannot really afford to drop any home matches if you have serious title aspirations, so nothing but a win will suffice. “

“We realise the Sharks are one of the best teams in the competition, but we owe it to ourselves and the supporters out there to play to our potential. If we do that, we will be competitive as our squad is certainly good enough. “

Bulls captain Pierre Spies feels his team can turn the season around.

“We have lost to ourselves as much as our opponents so far. We need to eliminate the soft moments from our game and make sure we execute. “

“It is going to be a tough battle, a typical local derby, but we are ready for this challenge, ” Spies said.


Jesse Krie, Bjorn Basson , JJ Engelbrecht , Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard , Handre Pollard, Rudy Paige, Pierre Spies (c), Lappies Labuschagne, Deon Stegmann, VictorMatfield, Jacques du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane , Adriaan Strauss , Morne Mellett.

Replacements: Callie Visagie , Dean Greyling, Marcel van der Merwe, Grant Hattingh , Hanro Liebenberg ,Tian Schoeman , Travis Ismaiel , Jurgen Visser .

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