Although it beggars belief that Akker van der Merwe should make his return to action before him, Bulls hooker Schalk Brits said yesterday he has made his peace with it and is raring to go in Friday night’s top-of-the-log clash with the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld.
Van der Merwe issued a flying head butt in a ruck and then punched Brits several times on the face. The Bulls hooker made contact with the Sharks No 2’s head once with the back of his hand. Yet Van der Merwe has been back for two weeks already.
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“There was an incident and I did make contact with his head, but there were two different hearings and he was never cited for the head butt.
“He had no record of foul play while I had two incidents, both dating back more than six years.
“It’s maybe not fair, but I can’t do anything about it now. I just wish they had looked at the incident from beginning to end.
“But I’ve made peace with it. My body has had a rest and I am physically and mentally refreshed.
“The Crusaders are unbelievably good. There’s a reason they are winning and I want to see what they do. That’s how you learn,” Brits, 37, said at Loftus Versfeld.
Centre Burger Odendaal and lock Jason Jenkins are also returning to action.
Andre Warner has been chosen to start at scrumhalf ahead of Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl, while Hanro Liebenberg is concussed and will be replaced on the flank by Jannes Kirsten, but coach Pote Human said he was confident he was fielding his best side.
“Jason Jenkins was in hot form before his injury. He’s an impact player and an enforcer.
“Schalk always gives 100% and it’s important to have him back. His experience, commitment and attitude lifts the whole team.
“Andre Warner deserves an outing and I think he will surprise lots of people. His all-round game is good, his distribution and kicking, and his defence is awesome.
“If we can stop their momentum and ensure we keep going forward, then we can stop them playing – although it is easier said than done,” Human said.
Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal, Rosko Specman, Handre Pollard (c), Andre Warner, Duane Vermeulen, Jannes Kirsten, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka. Bench: Jaco Visagie, Simphiwe Matanzima, Wiehahn Herbst, Thembelani Bholi, Paul Schoeman, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw.