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World Cup winning Bok makes debut in Bulls jersey

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok Willie le Roux will make his debut for the Bulls at fullback when they host Connacht at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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Jake White, director of rugby at the Bulls, has made six rotational changes to the starting XV which also includes the return of World Cup winning Marco van Staden.

Joining Le Roux in the backline is the centre-pairing of David Kriel and Stedman Gans, Sergeal Petersen and Sebastian de Klerk at wing whilst scrumhalf Zak Burger and Jaco van der Walt (flyhalf) will marshal the troops at halfback.

Up front Gerhard Steenekamp packs down alongside Akker van der Merwe with strongman Wilco Louw at tighthead.

The lock combination consists of Reinhardt Ludwig and captain Ruan Nortje while Van Staden joins Elrigh Louw and Nizaam Carr as loose forwards.

This will be a tightly contested affair with both teams having won one each in their previous encounters.

The Bulls have lost just twice at Loftus Versfeld since February 2022 and Connacht have only lost once so far this season: by just three points to Edinburgh in Round 4.

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Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 David Kriel, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Reinhardt Ludwig, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16 Simphiwe Matanzima, 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Canan Moodie

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 Ireland & UK time; 16.00 Italian time; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Paul Mente (South Africa); Dylen November (South Africa)
TMO: Andrea Piardi (Italy)

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