Pollard pivotal in Bulls' plans

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 09:23
Large handre pollard bulls ball

New Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard has been handed the responsibility of directing the Bulls' play against the Stormers on Saturday.

New Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard has been handed the responsibility of directing the Bulls' play against the Stormers on Saturday.

Pollard, a week after making his Bok debut against Scotland, will be at flyhalf for the Bulls at Newlands.

He replaces veteran Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who has been the preferred choice in the No.10 jersey for most of the season.

However, Pollard missed the Bulls' last outing - a 21-32 loss to the Lions back in May - due to his commitments with the South African Under-21 team at the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand.

He flew straight from the Final in Auckland, where they lost 20-21 to England U20, to Port Elizabeth to earn his first senior Test cap against the Scots.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, as was reported by rugby365 earlier this week, named stand-in Bok skipper Victor Matfield to lead the team at Newlands.

Ludeke made four changes and a positional switch to the starting team that lost to the Lions in Johannesburg.

Matfield and Paul Willemse are the new locks.

Grant Hattingh will vacate the lock position to make way for Matfield, moving to No.8 in a positional switch that will also see Jacques Engelbrecht run out at flank.

Matfield was rested against the Lions. Willemse replaces injured captain Flip van der Merwe in the No.4 jersey.

Engelbrecht's move to the side of the scrum is a result of the injury to Jacques du Plessis.

Werner Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe swap roles in the front row.

If they take to the field, Marvin Orie and Roelof Smit will make their Super Rugby debuts.

Three players debuted in Super Rugby in 2014 - William Small-Smith, Pollard and Wiaan Liebenberg.

* Meanwhile Matfield will extend his record as most capped South African in Super Rugby and will play in his 137th match.

Matfield also holds this record for the Bulls, turning out for the 129th time. He played for the Cats eight times in his debut season in 1999.

Matfield will equal Nathan Sharpe as the most experienced captain in Super Rugby when he runs in front for the 81st time.

Frans Ludeke will equal Ewen McKenzie's record of 131 Super Rugby matches as head coach. Ludeke coached the Cats in 23 matches and will be in charge of the Bulls for the 108th time.

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 William Small-Smith.

Date: Saturday, July 5
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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