Flip returns, Strauss rested

The Vodacom Bulls have made two changes to their starting XV for the match against the Reds at Loftus on Saturday.

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has been given a rest in accordance with Saru's player management guidelines, with Callie Visagie taking over the No 2 jersey and Jaco Visagie slotting in on the bench.

The only other change to the side that fell just short against the Lions sees Arno Botha replace Hanro Liebenburg at flank, with the latter dropping to the bench.

He will be joined by Flip van der Merwe, who looks set to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a chest injury.

'It is great to have Flip back,' said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke. 'He does not only provide a physical presence and some real grunt up front, he is also an important leader in the squad and with Victor [Matfield] out for a couple of weeks, Flip's return could not come at a better time.'

The Bulls will also be without Springbok duo Jan Serfontein and Handré Pollard, who are also being rested, with Jacques-Louis Potgieter continuing in the pivot position.

'We have some big games and a tour coming up and I would like both of them to be 100% fit for that. Both Jacques-Louis [Potgieter] and Burger [Odendaal] played well when called upon and I am happy to give them another opportunity,' said Ludeke. 'You need your whole squad to contribute to be successful in this competition.'

Bulls – 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jürgen Visser.

Super Rugby teams (Round 9)

Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images