Wilco Louw and Zak Burger back for Bulls against Stormers

Wilco Louw and Zak Burger back for Bulls against Stormers

The Bulls will be boosted by the return of injured duo Wilco Louw and Zak Burger when they welcome the Stormers to Loftus Versfeld for Saturday's United Rugby Championship encounter.

With only 120 tickets still available for sale, the encounter between the two arch-rivals is destined to be another classic in front of a packed house.

Louw was sidelined by a shoulder knock sustained in Bristol but returns to the front row whilst Burger has recovered from a knee ding in Lyon and takes his place on the bench. 

Louw slots in alongside Gerhard Steenekamp and hooker Johan Grobbelaar. Behind the trio will be lock combination of the Ruans, Vermaak and Nortje. Marco van Staden lines up on the blindside with Reinhardt Ludwig at openside flank whilst Marcell Coetzee shifts to eighth-man duty.

The halfback partnership between Embrose Papier and Johan Goosen will connect the forwards with the unchanged backline from round 10, which included Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse on the wings, though Willie Le Roux is still rested.

Director of Rugby Jake White said he is buzzing ahead of the sold-out matchup.

"I am excited for tomorrow, it's going to be nice for the guys. It is nice for them to play in front of a big crowd, baying for the franchise like in the past. I am glad they can be a part of that because I hope that will be the catalyst for us to kick on for the next couple of seasons," he said.

"It doesn't get any bigger than this, besides a World Cup final, for a pool game it probably doesn't get any bigger than this. Not many provincial players will have played in front of 51 000 people, besides the World Cup winners; there aren't many provincial players who will have played in front of a big crowd like what is expected and that in itself comes with a challenge for the young guys who have not done that before and we must help them with that."

Asked whether or not this match will serve as a marker, White responded: "The match is not make or break but a marker of where we are and what is working and what is not working, and we have a lot of things working for us. Where we were then and where we are now is chalk and cheese.

"Tomorrow for me, is irrelevant to what has happened before because our growth process is coming together. The calibre of players we have brought in, Akker, Willie, Nizaam and Devon have brought us experience and our combinations are coming together well."

Bulls: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 David Kriel, 11 Canan Moodie, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 7 Rienhardt Ludwig, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortjé (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.

Replacements: 16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Akker van der Merwe, 18. Francois Kloppers, 19. JF van Heerden, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Zak Burger, 22. Willie Le Roux, 23. Mpilo Gumede

READ MORE: URC: Stormers welcome back World Cup heroes against arch-rival Bulls