'We are ready for Brumbies’

2013-07-25 00:00

WHILE Jake White has named an unchanged Brumbies line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final at Loftus Versfeld, Springbok centre Jan Serfontein and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard have been recalled to the Bulls’ starting line-up.

Serfontein and Hougaard have recovered from injuries and coach Frans Ludeke has been able to select close to his strongest line-up.

Ludeke has been without injured captain Pierre Spies for the past month while Springbok lock Juandre Kruger has joined French club Racing Metro, leaving the Bulls short of lineout options and Baby Bok lock Paul Willemse has been named on the bench.

Serfontein will take over from Francois Venter in the midfield while Hougaard is preferred to Jano Vermaak at scrumhalf.

“We have worked hard to put ourselves in a position where we could host a semi-final at home and achieved that. We cannot allow all that effort to go to waste on Saturday,” Ludeke said yesterday.

“We certainly respect the Brumbies as opponents, but this match will be about us and our ability and drive to make them play the game at our tempo and to our game plan. For that we will need to be accurate and execute the big plays well.”

Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter said past experience in play-offs, and the Loftus crowd, would boost his team.

“We have great fans and we love doing well in front of them. We have experience in play-offs and we have big game players, so we will be ready,” Potgieter said.

Former Springbok coach White knows as well as anyone what awaits his team at Loftus.

“The Bulls present us with a huge challenge this weekend. We know they will play through their forwards and use Morné Steyn to finish with points,” White said yesterday.

“They have a good record here at Loftus and for our players to experience running on in front of a full house of more than 50 000 people will be fantastic.

“They are a typical South African side, very big and physical with some quality finishers out wide so it’s up to our players to combat that with our own game.”

The semi-final kicks off at 5.05 pm on Saturday with South African referee Craig Joubert in charge.

The Crusaders are tipped to beat the top-of-the-log Chiefs in Hamilton in Saturday’s early semi-final (9.35 am) and, if the seven-time champions beat the title-holders, the winners of the Bulls-Brumbies semi-final will host the final a week later.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.

Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Morne Mellett, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Jürgen Visser

Brumbies: 15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (captain), 7. George Smith, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio

Replacements : 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Ruan Smith, 18. Fotu Auelua, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Andrew Smith, 22. Joe Tomane.

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