Bulls boss Jake White names Bok prop Marcel van der Merwe to swim with Sharks
Bulls director of rugby Jake White has named Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe in his starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby Unlocked clash against the Sharks at Loftus.
Van der Merwe‚ who will be making his first appearance for the Bulls in the competition since he rejoined them from France earlier this year‚ replaces fellow Springbok Trevor Nyakane, who has dropped 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‚ who has made a number of changes to the team that lost to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.
Among the changes‚ exciting David Kriel moves to fullback to take over from experienced Gio Aplon, who has been ruled out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Elsewhere‚ Springbok winger Travis Ismaiel will take over from Kriel on the right wing while Blitzbok Kurt-Lee Arendse is another player who gets his first opportunity in the competition.
The speedy Arendse caught the eye with silky skills when the Bulls played the Sharks in the Superhero Saturday friendly last month at Loftus to restart the domestic season.
There is also a new centre combination with Springbok Cornal Hendricks shifting back to inside centre while Blitzbok Stedman Gans will take care of the outside centre channel.
The final change in the backline sees Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier swapping places with the former moving to the bench‚ while the forwards remain relatively unchanged with Elrigh Louw handed his first start at blindside flank and Arno Botha will provide cover off the bench.
Bulls: 15. David Kriel‚ 14. Travis Ismaiel‚ 13. Stedman Gans‚ 12. Cornal Hendricks‚ 11. Kurt-Lee Arendse‚ 10. Morné Steyn‚ 9. Ivan van Zyl‚ 8. Duane Vermeulen (C)‚ 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.
Replacements: 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: 1. Ox Nche‚ 2. Dylan Richardson‚ 3. Thomas du Toit‚ 4. Ruben van Heerden‚ 5. Hyron Andrews‚ 6. James Venter‚ 7. Phepsi Buthelezi‚ 8. Sikumbuzo Notshe‚ 9. Sanele Nohamba‚ 10. Curwin Bosch‚ 11. Werner Kok‚ 12. Marius Louw‚ 13. Lukhanyo Am (c)‚ 14. Sbu Nkosi‚ 15. Manie Libbok
Replacements: 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