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Marais starts for Bulls against Southern Kings

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Former Sharks and Southern Kings fullback SP Marais has been named to start at fullback for the Bulls against the Kings  at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

SP Marais was released from the Kings squad due to financial difficulties and he then joined the Bulls for the current season.

Marais will start at fullback in his second match for the Bulls after coming off the bench last week against the Cheetahs.

The fullback played 8 times for the Southern Kings and 27 times for the Sharks and he takes over from Jesse Kriel, who returns to the midfield to partner Jan Serfontein

Kriel moves to outside centre, with Serfontein moving to the inside berth left vacant by the injury to Burger Odendaal.

Jesse Kriel’s twin brother, Dan, moves onto the bench and could make his Super Rugby debut should he take to the field.

Rudy Paige is also out injured and Piet van Zyl will start at nine for the first time this year, with Ivan van Zyl remaining on the bench as back-up scrumhalf.

In changes to the pack, Arno Botha returns to the no8 position, replacing Nic de Jager, while Lappies Labuschagne is back in the starting pack. He replaces Roelof Smit, who moves to the bench.

In another change, Trevor Nyakane will start, with Lizo Gqoboka dropping out.

Two new faces on the bench is Marvin Orie and Werner Kruger. Orie comes in for Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Kruger takes the seat vacated by Nyakane.

“There is no doubt that the Kings will be tails up,” Bulls coach, Nollis Marais said when he announced the team in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“They really deserved the win against the Sunwolves, a team we battled to put away. So with that as measure, it is clear that we will have to play very well if we want to leave Port Elizabeth with a win. We showed good grit last weekend against the Cheetahs, but will have to be more consistent at this level. We are playing in spurts and our second half effort is lacking.”

Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, feels that the Kings will target the Bulls scrum.

“No doubt. We did not do well in that department last weekend, while they did very well, so will see an opportunity to attack us there. We worked hard to fix the issues we had and I am confident that we can repel that attack. We have some weapons of our own and intend to use them.”

Bulls

SP Marais, Travis Ismaiel , Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein , Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman , Piet van Zyl, Arno Botha, Jannes Kirsten, Lappies Labuschagne, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss (c), Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: Bandise Maku, Pierre Schoeman, Werner Kruger, Marvin Orie, Roelof Smit, Ivan van Zyl, Francois Brummer, Dan Kriel

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