Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
3 Apr 2014
11:00 am

Flip returns to Bulls paddock

Heinz Schenk

As the other South African Super Rugby outfits battle iffy form and injury crises, the Bulls arrived in Wellington yesterday comforted by the knowledge that they're not burdened too much on those fronts.

FILE PICTURE: Flip van der Merwe. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

Consequently, coach Frans Ludeke was able to announce a starting line-up against the Hurricanes in Napier on Saturday that only features two changes.

Most notably is the return of regular stand-in skipper Flip van der Merwe in the second row, after sitting out with a hamstring injury for two weeks.

His presence was one of the main reasons for Victor Matfield embarking on the trip merely as the line-out and attack specialist and not a player.

Nineteen-year-old Jacques du Plessis has been immense as a ball-carrier to date but gets granted a bit of a breather on the bench with namesake Jacques Engelbrecht getting a start.

“We’re looking to start rotating players from now on and with the depth we have in the squad, it’s something I don’t mind doing,” said Ludeke.

Given how efficiently the men from Pretoria picked themselves up from a lacklustre start to their campaign, the confidence extracted from a run of three victories and a draw renders the rotation dynamic even less of a problem.

“The important thing for me is that we’ve played well in the past few weeks.

“We’re winning games again. We’re playing a team that’s on the up,” said Ludeke.

“You need a special performance to win here and producing it is so much easier if you’ve culitvated a winning habit.”