Two changes, one because of injury and one because of a player’s return from injury, were all that Bulls coach Frans Ludeke had to declare from the side which beat the Cheetahs last weekend, when he announced the side for Saturday’s Super 14 match against the Brumbies at Loftus.
Centre Jaco Pretorius’ thigh injury gives young Stephan Dippenaar his chance to start, while the return of Springbok Francois Hougaard on the wing was expected after his late withdrawal last weekend because of a knee ligament injury.
Hougaard replaces John Mametsa, who had an excellent game against the Cheetahs.
“John had a very good game, but it is always good to welcome back a versatile player like Francois,” Ludeke said.
Bulls loose forward Pedrie Wannenburg, this weekend becomes the first player with Springbok captain John Smit to run out in 100 games for the same franchise.
Smith will beat him by a day as the Sharks are playing on Friday night.
AJ Venter, Percy Montgomery, Ollie le Roux and Albert van den Berg had achieved that for different Super franchises. All four these players played some of their matches for the Sharks.
Wannenburg said it was a huge honour to achieve this, “especially playing in the Bulls jersey. But while this is a highlight and I hope for a match highlight, my focus will be squarely on the game”.
Ludeke emphasised while he was happy with the Bulls’ six-try win over the Cheetahs in the first round last weekend, and especially with the scrummaging against a side renowned for their solid scrum, he expected the Bulls’ scrumming to improve even further this weekend. — Sapa