Time to assert authority, says Ludeke as Bulls make four changes

2010-09-02 00:00

BLUE Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, conceding that the Currie Cup champions are running out of time, has made four changes to his line-up for Saturday night’s big game against the log-leading Sharks at Loftus Versfeld.

Regular number eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze is back after missing the Nelspruit trip due to injury, and he will join Bok flank Dewald Potgieter and captain Derick Kuun at loose forward.

In the other changes to the team beaten by the Pumas in Nelspruit, former Bok fullback Jaco van der Westhuyzen has been selected on the wing and Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who is heading to Durban at the end of the year, is back at flyhalf and partnering Ruan Snyman at halfback.

Fudge Mabeta returns at lock in the fourth change while CJ Stander, Wilhelm Steenkamp and Dustin Jinka all drop to the bench.

“The Sharks have their tails up and deserve to be on top of the log at the moment,” Ludeke said yesterday. “We cannot afford to drop a home game and it is time for us to force our authority on the competition. Last weekend was very disappointing, but we get an opportunity to rectify that this weekend.”

The Sharks (35 points), with one loss this season, are 12 points ahead of the fourth-placed Bulls (23) who have been beaten four times.

The Sharks are the leading try-scoring side in the Currie Cup with 36 tries and have also notched up more points than any other team after eight games — 294. They also boast the second-best defensive record this season after conceding 169 points. Only Western Province (118) has conceded fewer points.

John Plumtree, waiting on a fitness call on lock Alistair Hargreaves, will name his team today

He said the Currie Cup provides different challenges for all the coaches, and that Ludeke has problems managing his squad and the depth in the squad with Springbok call-ups.

“The cards dealt the Bulls are different to those handed the Cheetahs, Lions or Griquas. The challenge is to manage the players and organise the team when players are coming and going to the Boks.

“But the Bulls will be excited about playing at home and playing us. I’m sure they will talk us up. But we are realistic. What’s happened in the past means nothing when these two teams play each other. This fixture always means raised levels of intensity and that’s something that doesn’t change from one season to the next,” Plumtree said.

The match kicks off at 7.10 pm and Jonathan Kaplan is the referee.

BLUE BULLS TEAM:

15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Jaco Pretorius, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 10. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9. Ruan Snyman, 8. Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Derick Kuun (capt), 5. Fudge Mabeta, 4. Juandre Kruger, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. Dean Greyling.

Substitutes: 16. Henry Bantjes, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Jaco Engels, 19. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20. CJ Stander, 21. Dustin Jinka, 22. Stefan Watermeyer.

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