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.