Danie Rossouw will be the Bulls’ new ‘enforcer’ when they tackle the Brumbies in their final Super 14 tour match in Canberra on Friday.
Speaking to rugby365.com’s Jan De Koning after the team announcement and confirmation of lock Bakkies’ Botha’s three-match suspension for foul play, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke revealed that Rossouw is set for a change in roles.
The Bulls will field a new second row partners ship – with captain Victor Matfield back home with his wife for the birth of their second child and Botha suspended.
Rossouw comes in as the blindside lock in place of Botha and Wilhelm Steenkamp takes over Matfield’s line-out role.
Pedrie Wannenburg comes in as blindside flank, with Rossouw having moved into the second row.
Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez takes over the captaincy again.
The other changes – at hooker and outside centre – are all rotational.
Derick Kuün will start in the No.2 jersey and Chiliboy Ralepelle drops down to the bench, with JP Nel starting at outside centre and Jaco Pretorius on the bench.
Ludeke admitted that Botha’s suspension – for charging with a forearm into the face of Waratahs captain Phil Waugh in last week’s 20-6 win by the Bulls in Sydney – is not ideal.
“Our focus is now on the next match [against the Brumbies] and we have full confidence in Danie [Rossouw] and Wilhelm [Steenkamp],” Ludeke told rugby365.com from the team’s base in Sydney.
“We also have Pedrie [Wannenburg as lock back-up] if there’s an injury.
“We feel sorry for Bakkies, because we felt he may have been hard done by, but that is the process and we accept that and will put it behind us.”
Ludeke explained that Rossouw, who took over the line-out duties when Matfield was sidelined with a shoulder injury for six weeks, will now take over Botha’s role for the next three weeks.
“Danie, when Victor was out, came in and took responsibility and made contributions in other areas as well. We have a lot of confidence in him,” the coach said.
“Wilhelm played a whole Super 14 last year and while he hasn’t had that many opportunities this year, we know he will be up for the task,” he added – confirming that Steenkamp will be making the calls in the line-outs, on attack and defence.
“Danie will play the blindside lock/blindside flank role, because they are so close in terms of what is required of the player.
“They are the main ball carriers and do jump in the line-outs, but are one of the big defenders in the team. That is not a new role or him,” Ludeke said, adding that Matfield will slot straight back into the line-out role when he returns next week.
The Bulls coach also felt that his rotation policy has been bearing fruit and said all four players – Ralepelle, Kuün, Nel and Pretorius – are “very good players” that should be kept involved in the game.
He will also utilise an entire front row off the bench again this week, after the success of bringing Jaco Engels and Rayno Gerber on in the last 20 minutes against the Waratahs last week.
“We are looking for that same impact this week.
“We have seen how in the last 20 minutes the game opens up and it is important to have fresh legs so you can cover those extra spaces with your tight forwards.”
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Pedrie Wannenburg, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Derick Kuün, 1 Gürthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Deon Stegmann, 19 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Jaco Pretorius.