Super Rugby

Van der Merwe starts at prop as Jake White tinkers with Bulls line-up

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Marcel van der Merwe (Gallo Images)
Marcel van der Merwe (Gallo Images)

Marcel van der Merwe will get his first start in Super Rugby Unlocked, after re-joining the Bulls from France earlier this year, when they host the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Director of rugby Jake White has tinkered with his match-day team, most notably amongst the backs.

Youngster David Kriel shifts to fullback in place of the injured of Gio Aplon, while Springbok Travis Ismaiel will take over from Kriel on the right wing.

Blitzbok Kurt-Lee Arendse will also get his first opportunity in Super Rugby Unlocked, after showcasing his silky skills against the same opposition on Super Hero Saturday.

There is also a new centre combination as Springbok Cornal Hendricks shifts back to inside centre, while Blitzbok Stedman Gans will man the outside centre channel.

The final change in the backline sees Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier swapping places, with the latter shifting to the bench.

The forward pack remains relatively unchanged, with Elrigh Louw handed his first start at blindside flank and Arno Botha to provide cover off the bench.

Springbok prop Van der Merwe replaces another Bok in the shape of Trevor Nyakane, who drops down to the bench.

"We've got another opportunity this week against the Sharks but we need to be better than we were in Bloemfontein. We cannot afford to depend on a late comeback to save our graces which means dominating all phases of play from the first kick-off," said White.

Teams:

Bulls

15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

Substitutes: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren

Sharks

15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe

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