Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is so relieved that his team notched their first win of the Vodacom SuperRugby campaign last weekend that he has named the same starting XV for Saturday’s match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
“We finally found the momentum we were looking for in the opening rounds of the competition against the Sharks and managed four tries, so we will need that confidence and rhythm we picked up when we play the Cheetahs,” Ludeke said on Thursday when he announced the team at Loftus Versfeld.
There is one change on the bench, with scrumhalf Piet van Zyl returning to the squad and replacing wing Travis Ismaiel. That means wing Francois Hougaard, who replaced the impressive Rudi Paige at halfback when he developed cramp against the Sharks last weekend, will not be the reserve scrumhalf even though many people believe it’s his best position.
The Bulls were also struck by many injuries in the first couple of weeks of the competition, but Ludeke is glad the Sharks’ victory did not produce any fresh ailments.
These are happy times for the Cheetahs and Ludeke warned that they will be “full of self-belief” at the weekend.
“I am happy to name the same team because the Cheetahs are one of the early front runners and will be full of self-belief. This is not only a vote of confidence, but we are also blessed with no injuries, something that hampered our consistency in the first couple of weeks,” the coach said.
Bulls team: 15-Jesse Kriel, 14-Bjorn Basson, 13-JJ Engelbrecht, 12-Jan Serfontein, 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Handrè Pollard, 9-Rudy Paige, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Lappies Labuschagne, 6-Deon Stegmann, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Jacques du Plessis, 3-Trevor Nyakane, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Mornè Mellet. Replacements – 16-Callie Visagie, 17-Dean Greyling, 18-Marcel van der Merwe, 19-Grant Hattingh, 20-Hanro Liebenberg, 21-Tian Schoeman, 22-Piet van Zyl, 23-Jurgen Visser.