Bulls confident of keeping Chiliboy Ralepelle

2013-05-22 18:22

Super Rugby coach Frans Ludeke is confident that the Bulls have managed to plug their senior player leak.

This follows reports that Bulls and Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has been tempted by an overseas offer from Toulouse and Toulon.

“We need our core of senior players. There is no way you can win the Super 15 with junior players only,” Ludeke said.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep our senior guys and our experienced players. I know there is some speculation about Chiliboy but I’m confident we’ll be successful in extending his stay.”

Milestones have been a major part of the Bulls’ current season.

Last week it was Pierre Spies’ 100th Super Rugby cap and on Saturday, scrumhalf Jano Vermaak will be joining the centurion club against the Sharks.

Bjorn Basson will replace Lionel Mapoe and Wynand Olivier will be starting in his favourite number 12 jersey ahead of Jan Serfontein.

Basson will also be starting in his 50th Super Rugby match.

There are two front row changes in Frik Kirsten replacing Werner Kruger, with Willie Wepener swapping bench places with Callie Visagie.

With most of Vermaak’s rugby being played under Ludeke’s tutelage at the Lions and Bulls, Bulls captain Spies said Vermaak’s contribution to the team was special.

“We are very privileged to have two scrumhalves of Jano’s and Francois’ quality but Jano is a good man on and off the field. He is also a brilliant rugby player,” Spies said.

The Sharks broke their five-match losing streak with a 23-13 win against the Force in Perth last week. A win against the Sharks could give the Bulls further breathing space at the top irrespective of the Port Elizabeth results between the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.

The Sharks need to win all their remaining matches to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

Said Spies: “We do honour the milestones and there is a place of that. The focus is on what we want to achieve against the Sharks.

“We celebrate the milestones with the players and they will be having some butterflies this week but we’ll be focusing on the job at hand.”

» Teams




15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché/Jan Serfontein, 22 Lionel Mapoe

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