Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle will start his first rugby match for the Bulls on Saturday.
JJ Harmse writes for Rapport that Ralepelle, who made his debut as long ago as 2006, has made all his appearances as a substitute. He will replace Derick Kuün for the Super 14 derby against the Lions at Coca-Cola Park.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said it was a rotational move and is not being done with the opponents in mind.
“It was always part of the plan and it’s a good opportunity for Chiliboy to stake his claim. We have several players that we can rotate and this is the first example of it,” he said.
Ralepelle and Kuün complement one another well and the move by Ludeke can definitely benefit the Bulls.
Ralepelle is a strong scrummager and Kuün, who has played for the Sevens Springboks, can be a major asset with his mobility in the second half.
Ludeke is also expected to pick Rayno Gerber as a substitute in the team he will announce on Wednesday. He will replace Frik Kirsten.
Gerber was full of energy at Tuesday’s training session, but Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw did not participate. Botha has a sore back and Rossouw has flu.
However, the lock pairing will be fit to play.
Ludeke expects a very hard match. “I don’t think there’s a secret between the teams. The guys know one another too well and have played one another too many times. Both sides play direct rugby, so it will be really hard,” he said.
Ludeke believes the game can develop into one similar to the clash against the Blues.
“There was a lot of broken play and I expect the same against the Lions. They will try to move the ball around, but we’ll be ready for that,” he said.
“The Bulls paid a lot of attention to their ground play this week.
“We had to attend to a few faults with an eye to this game,” said Ludeke.
Meanwhile, several other Bulls contenders will get the chance to convince Ludeke of their value when the Blue Bulls start their Vodacom Cup campaign against the Griffons in Welkom.
Jacques Burger, Wayne Julies, Gerhard van der Merwe and Tiger Mangweni all get the opportunity to stake a claim.Tweet