Willie le Roux handed first Bulls start in URC clash against Connacht

Willie le Roux handed first Bulls start in URC clash against Connacht

Two-time World Cup winner Willie le Roux will make his debut for the Bulls when they return to fortress Loftus to take on Connacht in Saturday's United Rugby Championship clash in Pretoria.

Director of Rugby Jake White has made six rotational changes to the starting XV and two more changes on the bench for the upcoming clash.

Le Roux will lace his boots and line up at fullback with the centre-pairing of David Kriel and Stedman Gans in front of him.

Speed merchants Sergeal Petersen and Sebastian de Klerk retain their places on the wing despite the return of Springbok stars Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse. Moodie has been selected on the bench, but Arendse did not make the match-day 23.

The halfback pairing of scrumhalf Zak Burger and flyhalf Jaco van der Walt will marshal the troops.

Up front, hooker Akker van der Merwe will pack down alongside props Gerhard Steenekamp and Wilco Louw. Behind the power-packing trio will be the lock combination of Reinhardt Ludwig and captain Ruan Nortje in the second row. Versatile flanker, Marco 'Eskom' van Staden returns to the fold and will start at flank alongside Elrigh Louw to his right with Nizaam Carr at eight.

White has assembled a strong bench comprising five forwards and three backline players, including Simphiwe Matanzima, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Cyle Brink, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith and Moodie.

Gates at Loftus will open from 14h00 in the afternoon with plenty of entertainment for the entire family at the Loftus Market on the D-field.

Bulls: 1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Reinhardt Ludwig, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Elrigh Louw, 8. Nizaam Carr, 9. Zak Burger, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 11. Sergeal Petersen, 12. David Kriel, 13. Stedman Gans, 14. Sebastian de Klerk, 15. Willie le Roux

Replacements: 16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Cyle Brink, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Canan Moodie

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