Burger Odendaal is back from injury and will lead the Vodacom Bulls in their Vodacom Super Rugby Australasian tour opener against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
The match at Suncorp Stadium kicks off at 10h15 (SA time) and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
Odendaal’s inclusion at inside centre is the only personnel change to the Vodacom Bulls’ team from last weekend’s win over the Highlanders. As a result, Johnny Kotze moves back to outside centre.
On the Reds' side, Brad Thorn has made six changes to his team, the most prominent of which is the return of James O'Connor at flyhalf after having recovered from an ankle injury.
Each of the last 13 Vodacom Super Rugby meetings between the Reds and the Vodacom Bulls have been won by the home team on the day – indeed, the Queenslanders have won their last six home games on the bounce against the men from Pretoria, with four of those wins being by seven points or fewer.
The Reds are also on a good run against SA opposition in Brisbane, having won six of their last seven games at home against teams from the Republic, with the only defeat coming two weekends ago against the Cell C Sharks.
The Vodacom Bulls will also want to improve on their recent record Down Under. They have won only two of their last 12 Vodacom Super Rugby games in Australia, and lost the other 10.
What they said:
Vodacom Bulls head coach Pote Human said they wanted to maintain the winning formula and decided not to change too much to their team: “The players put up their hands last week and have been rewarded for their efforts. The combinations worked well and the bench complemented the efforts of the starters. Our scrums were good as were our lineouts but there is always work to be done especially in terms of discipline.”
Reds – 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Bryce Hegarty, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Henry Speight, 10 James O’Connor 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Dane Zander. Replacements: 16 Ed Craig, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Josh Nasser, 19 Angus Scott-Young, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Isaac Lucas, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Vodacom Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Josh Strauss, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Ryno Pieterse, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Head to head:
Reds won: 12
Vodacom Bulls won: 10
Reds points: 480
Vodacom Bulls points: 597
Average score: 22-27
Date: Saturday, 14 March
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 10h15 (SA time)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Graham Cooper (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)
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