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White opts for continuity against Sharks

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has named his team to face the Sharks in Round 18 of the 2023/24 season on Saturday at the Kings Park Stadium in Durban.

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Director of Rugby Jake White has retained the same 23-men Bulls side that did duty in round 17 of the competition, with just the positional change in Johan Grobbelaar coming into the starting XV whilst Akker van der Merwe shifts to the six-three split impact squad.

Van der Merwe will be alongside Simphiwe Matanzima, Francois Klopper, Reinhardt Ludwig, Nizaam Carr, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith and Sebastian de Klerk.

Grobbelaar will partner up with Gerhard Steenekamp and Wilco Louw at the front with Ruan Vermaak and his namesake and captain, Ruan Nortje at lock. Behind Nortje partnership will be Marco van Staden and Elrigh Louw at blind and open side flank, respectively.

The tested pairing of Embrose Papier (scrumhalf) and Johan Goosen (flyhalf) will link up at halfback once more. Behind them will be the synchronised backline of Harold Vorster and David Kriel at centre and the back trio of Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Willie le Roux.

It is a big occasion for Chris Smith, who will notch up his 50th URC when the two team meet on Saturday.

Bulls: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Voster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Sebastian de Klerk.

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Date: Saturday, June 1
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 16.00 (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Morne Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadzweni (South Africa) and Dylen November (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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