Despite the absence of the sevens Springboks, the Vodacom Blue Bulls managed to select a strong side to face the Bulldogs at Securicor Loftus on Saturday, with Danie van der Merwe playing his first match of the season.
Van der Merwe was one of the big stars for the under-20’s last season, but has been battling with a groin injury this year. He is ready and hungry now, however. Van der Merwe gets his chance after Stefan Basson withdrew at the eleventh hour to represent the Springbok sevens side. Danwel Demas is also unavailable for this reason, but fortunately Gavin Passens has recovered from his injury and he will be manning the left wing position.
Ruan Vermeulen is struggling with a hamstring injury and Wium Arlow gets the opportunity to have a go in the relatively unfamiliar eight man position.
With Gurthrö Steenkamp drafted into the Bulls squad, Wessel Roux is playing loose head and the old war horse, Sias Wagner, returns to the tight head.
The Bulldogs are a team that seems to lift itself every time it faces the Blue Bulls and encounters between the two sides are traditionally close. Saturday’s visitors will have their tails up after they downed the dangerous Falcons in their last match.
Ricardo Loubscher; Keegan Fredericks, John Mametsa (O/Kapt), Wynand Olivier, Gavin Passens; Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Danie van der Merwe; Wium Arlow, Johan Wasserman (Kapt), Derrick Kuün, Francois van Schouwenburg, Adriaan Fondse, Sias Wagner, Adriaan Strauss, Wessel Roux.
Replacements: Harry Vermaas, Werner Kruger, Cliff Milton, Lodie Brits, Joey Mongalo, Thabang Molefe, Marius Delport.