He will lead the team for its third tour match to Australasia.
Van der Merwe got injured in last weekend’s bonus-point defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin, but has recovered sufficiently from his arm injury.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named the same starting team that played in Dunedin, but made one change on the bench, where Rudy Paige will act as scrumhalf cover.
Should Paige take to the field it will be his first appearance in the competition this year.
“We are very keen to get back on the winning trail,” Ludeke said.
“We had opportunities in Napier and Dunedin, but could not convert enough of those to secure us victory.
“We have played well in patches, so will be looking for a solid performance in Sydney.”
Van der Merwe said the players owed it to themselves to deliver on Saturday.
“We are desperate for a win and the only way we will achieve that is by showing up and playing to our potential on Saturday,” Van der Merwe said.
“We have ambitions in this tournament, but we need to make a stronger statement about that than we have done up to now.”
Bulls team: Jurgen Visser, Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Piet van Zyl, Grant Hattingh, Jacques du Plessis, Jono Ross, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe (captain), Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Marcel vd Merwe, Paul Willemse, Jacques Engelbrecht, William Small-Smith, Handre Pollard, Rudy Paige, Morne Mellett.