Du Preez, Botha boost for Bulls



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Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer has named two of his most potent weapons – scrum-half Fourie du Preez and lock Bakkies Botha – in the starting XV to face the Sharks in the Super 14 Final in Durban on Saturday.

Du Preez, who remains on the doubtful list as the result of a shoulder injury, is making good progress on the road to recovery.

He comes in at number nine ahead of Heini Adams, who drops down to the replacement bench.

Botha, who played off the bench the last two weeks after recovering from injury, returns at lock in place of Danie Rossouw – who will also be on the bench in the Final.

Those are the only changes to the team.

Meyer, speaking at the team’s weekly media briefing in Pretoria, said he was not playing head games with the inclusion of Du Preez – even though there’s still a question mark over his participation.

“I’m very positive about his chances of making a full recovery,” Meyer told the media gathering.

“As we speak he is not ready, but I believe he will be fine and that is why I have named him to start,” Meyer said.

Making a further statement in regards to his belief that the Bok number nine will be fit to take the field, the coach also opted not to bracket Du Preez with Adams as he did last week.

Meyer also said Rossouw will have a crucial role to play as an impact player off the bench.

“He is one of the best players in the world and will make a huge difference when he comes on … as he has done all season,” the coach said.

Bulls:15 Johan Roets, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Danie Thiart, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Derick Ku’n, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Morn’ Steyn, 22 Jaco van der Westhuyzen.

Date: Saturday, 19 May
Venue: ABSA Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh( New Zealand)
Touch judges: Lyndon Bray( New Zealand), Bryce Lawrence( New Zealand)
Television match official: Kelvin Deaker( New Zealand)


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