Strauss makes Bulls return

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss will make his first competitive appearance since re-signing for the Vodacom Bulls against the Stormers at Loftus on Saturday.

Strauss, who made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Bulls in 2006, has recovered from the calf injury that had kept him out of the Bulls' pre-season matches and will take his place in the front row alongside debutant Trevor Nyakane.

The Bulls pack boasts six Springboks, with Arno Botha making his long-awaited return from injury in the No 8 jersey. Lappies Labuschagne is another to make his first appearance for the Bulls since his off-season move from Bloemfontein.

Victor Matfield will captain the side in the absence of Pierre Spies, who will be eased back into action from the bench.

Among the backs, Piet van Zyl gets the nod at scrumhalf, with Francois Hougaard filling in on the wing. Jan Serfontein and JJ Englebrecht will form an all-Springbok midfield, while Jürgen Visser has been favoured over Jesse Kriel as the starting fullback.

Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet Van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Subs: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellet, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen/Neethling Fouche, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Pierre Spies, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 Jesse Kriel.

Super Rugby teams (Round 1)

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix