Hougaard back for Spies' 100th

Cape Town - Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard is set to be included in the Bulls starting team for their Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders at Loftus Verfeld on Saturday.

According to the Beeld website, the Springbok looks likely to start a game for the first time since injuring his ankle against the Force on March 2.

Jano Vermaak has started in their last eight games, and despite his good form this season, will likely play off the bench as part of coach Frans Ludeke's rotation policy.

In other changes, centre Jan Serfontein is likely to start at inside centre after recovering from a leg injury, which will see Wynand Olivier drop down to the bench, or even miss out completely to make way for the more versatile Lionel Mapoe.

Mapoe trained at inside centre on Tuesday, but only because Bjorn Basson was sideline with illness. Basson should however be ready to take his place on Saturday.

Up front, prop Frik Kirsten could replace Werner Kruger at tighthead.

The game, which will mark captain Pierrie Spies's 100th Super Rugby game, kicks off at 17:05 on Saturday.

The Bulls are currently third on the overall Super Rugby log, with seven wins from 10 games, while the Highlander are languishing at the bottom.

Probable Bulls starting team:

15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.

René Müller 2013/05/15 07:56:08 AM
Ons Blou Ysters!! Glad to see our team is getting stronger and stronger toward the last part of the competition. Cannot believe Pierre is already playing his 100th game? GO BULLS!!!!
Ternam Narbu 2013/05/15 07:58:37 AM
Hougard not good player. Bulls play him for Highlanders to have small chance to loose. Bulls not play him for difficult game.
Natalie Mannel 2013/05/15 08:09:50 AM
Well done, Spies!! Hope you can equal that achievement for most tackles made this season. Uhmmm...Unfortunately stats shows otherwise ! Puts a definite damper on that achievement....
Coen Venter 2013/05/15 08:12:05 AM
bulls inbreds
Anton Anton 2013/05/15 08:15:42 AM
At Last something about the Bulls, last week and a half it was just about the Stormers and their excuses.
Pieter Samie 2013/05/15 08:32:27 AM
Never have I seen this guy bleed - avoidance is the best tactic!
Jaan van Schaick 2013/05/15 09:36:45 AM
In selecting the team one select the golden axel first, in order of importance: 10; 9; 8; 2; 15. These are the positions that make the crucial game breaking decisions. Game control must be at 10 with time and space at hand, with 8 and 9 creating a platform, 2 gluing the pack and 15 the last fortress/counter attack weapon. The Bulls golden axel is in brilliant form and tested (personally i believe Vermaak is better than Hougie on current form) and currently the best in SA and therefore should control the game. Compared to other SA teams only the cheetahs come close with 4 positions (10 an issue). Kings have Catrakilis and Whitehead with Shaun Venter and Engelbreght growing each game. Sharks has Viljoen at 15 rest disappears (with Lambie the biggest disappointment) Stormers has Pieterson at 15 (his height a huge problem) that can make the grade. JdV tries to control the game from 12 but its to far from the forwards and at inside centre the time is limited to make decisions, Bulls have a champion team with champions in key positions.
Rezaan Petersen 2013/05/15 09:43:04 AM
Jano vermaak was doing well in hougards absents. experience over form? #sad
Gerrit Van Breda 2013/05/15 09:44:11 AM
Rene, Natalie dink ou bankies bekker is iets vir die oog.
Chris In Oz 2013/05/15 11:30:13 AM
And I thought Pine Pienaar had the most idiotic expressions in world rugby. But that pic of Wallaby Hougaard is the best. He just looks retarded. Well, I guess it's because he is. But the thing that puzzles me though is how did Spiertjies get to 100 games. I'm sure they are counting those games twice where he made a tackle or ran 2 metres forward or did anything. You can only count those games once, Pierre, even if you contributed something.