Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, on Wednesday announced a quite predictable team for Saturday’s first-round Super 14 match against the Reds at Loftus Versfeld, with the inclusion of Springbok centre Jaco Pretorius, World Cup scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and young flank Dewald Potgieter as the most noteworthy selections .
SAPA reports that this will be Pretorius’ debut match for the Bulls. The former Springbok Sevens captain missed all three the warm-up outings since joining them from the Lions. Pretorius will partner World Cup Springbok Wynand Olivier in midfield in a combination much is expected of. Bulls veteran centre JP Nel, just back from Japan, is on the bench.
Du Preez injured his right hand that kept him from the field for a large part of the 2008 season in the warm-up against the Cheetahs in Polokwane two weeks ago, and was expected to be off the field for a few weeks. Heini Adams, who was also plagued by injury last year, is on the bench.
Potgieter, who was outstanding when he had opportunity last year, gets the nod ahead of veteran Pedrie Wannenburg and will take over the place of Wikus van Heerden, who is now with Saracens, while Werner Kruger as expected tol start at tighthead in the absence of Rayno Gerber who has a groin strain.
Ludeke said Saturday’s match against the Reds is of the utmost importance. “We have to start off well, and we will not take any team lightly.”
The team is: Zane Kirchner; Bryan Habana, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Akona Ndungane; Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kun, Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Frik Kirsten, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, JP Nel, Burton Francis, Heini Adams.Tweet