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Bok boost for Bulls

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Bulls have named Springbok Marco van Staden in their starting XV to face the Lions in their United Rugby Championship Round Nine match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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The World Cup winner Van Staden returns to the starting line-up following his mandatory rest. He starts at openside flank, pairing up with Elrigh Louw at blindside with Mpilo Gumede on No.8 duties.

Other noticeable changes in the return of Ruan Nortje to the starting XV and Johan Grobbelaar on the bench.

Lock Nortje will captain the Bulls against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Nortje has featured in the last two fixtures for the Tshwane-based side from the bench. However this week he will start his first match since being sidelined by a hamstring injury sustained in Round Six of the competition against Connacht.

Nortje will line up at lock alongside Deon Slabbert to his left. Ahead of the lanky pair will be a front row comprising Simphiwe Matanzima at loosehead prop with Mornay Smith at tighthead and formers Lions players Akker van der Merwe slots in at hooker.

Embrose Papier at scrumhalf and Johan Goosen at flyhalf, once more combine at halfback with the centre combination of Harold Vorster (inside) and David Kriel (outside) behind them.

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On the wings, the Bulls will see Sergeal Petersen run out at left wing with Sebastian de Klerk on the right-hand side of the fortress. Willie le Roux completes the starting fifteen at fullback.

Grobberlaar, who has been sidelined since mid-December after picking up an injury in France against Lyon in Round Two of the Champions Cup, gets a spot on the bench.

He forms part of a six-two split impact squad that will feature Dylan Smith, Khutha Mchunu, Reinhardt Ludwig, Cameron Hanekom, Keagan Johannes, Devon Williams and Marcell Coetzee.

Bulls: 15 Willi Le Roux, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Voster, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Mpilo Gumede, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Deon Slabbert, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Cameron Hanekom, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Devon Williams, 23 Marcell Coetzee.

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Date: Saturday, January 27
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Morne Ferriera (South Africa)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

Bok boost for Bulls

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