Bulls make seven changes for Rebels clash

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made seven changes to the team that lost to the Stormers last weekend for this week’s final round Super Rugby match against the Rebels at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Flanker Roelof Smit gets his first start in the number six jersey after making his debut last week from the replacements bench.

Jurgen Visser is back at fullback, having recovered from an abductor strain that kept him out of the Newlands clash and replace Ulrich Beyers.

Francois Hougaard will play on the wing, replacing the injured Akona Ndungane, with Piet van Zyl starting at scrumhalf.

With Grant Hattingh injured, Jacques Engelbrecht will move back to no8, Jono Ross moves to 7 and Smit slots in at 6.

Ludeke also changed his front row. Marcel van der Merwe will start at tighthead, Bandise Maku gets a rare start at hooker and Morne Mellett will start at loose head for the first time this season.

They replace Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie and Dean Greyling, who will all start off the bench. Ludeke also included Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg on the bench and should he get a run, the Junior Springbok lock will make his Bulls debut. Jesse Kriel is also on the bench for the first time at this level.

“We have nothing to lose, so decided to give some youngsters a run. Injury also played a role in team selection. We want to end the season well and although our final log position will not be where we wanted, there is no reason why we cannot close out our campaign with a fine performance,” Ludeke said.

Bulls

Jurgen Visser, Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard, Handre Pollard, Piet van Zyl, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jono Ross, Roelof Smit, Victor Matfield, Paul Willemse, Marcel van der Merwe, Bandise Maku, Morne Mellett.

Replacements: Callie Visagie, Werner Kruger, Dean Greyling, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Marvin Orie, Jesse Kriel, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, William-Small Smith.

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