Rossouw fills Matfield's shoes
February 19, 2009
Danie Rossouw will start at lock for the Bulles © Getty Images
Danie Rossouw will step in to the sizable boots of Springbok lock Victor Matfield for the Bulls' Super 14 match against the Blues at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Matfield will miss three weeks of competitive action with a shoulder injury, meaning that Rossouw must now step-up and pack down alongside Bakkies Botha. Scrum-half Fourie Du Preez takes the captain's armband from Matfield, while the rest of the side remains unchanged from their opening-day win over the Reds.
"We've seen in the past that the New Zealand franchises have a lot of depth and they always have someone else in their squad that is very capable of replacing an injured player," said Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke. "The Blues are always an unbelievable tough opponent, but after the win against the Reds we are on track and as a team we are confident in our abilities."
Blues coach Pat Lam has made eight changes to his side for the game, including the surprising tactical move of dropping All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock to the bench, with Tevita Mailau stepping up to make his Super 14 debut.
Jimmy Gopperth and Josh Blackie also pick up theur first starts for the franchise while Isaia Toeava move to fullback from centre in order to combat the Bulls' kicking game. Skipper Keven Mealamu has been bracketed at hooker alongside Tom McCartney as he remains an injury worry.
"The last thing I need is Kevvy (Mealamu) going out and risk losing him for two, three, four weeks if it's not quite right," he said. "Part of the strategy is we want to finish strongly with Tony on the field."
Bulls: Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez (captain); Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kuün, Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Frik Kirsten, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, JP Nel.
Blues: Isaia Toeava; Rene Ranger, Anthony Tuitavake, Jamie Helleur, Paul Williams; Jimmy Gopperth, Chris Smylie; Tevita Mailau, Keven Mealamu (capt)/Tom McCartney, John Afoa, Kurtis Haiu, Anthony Boric, Justin Collins, Josh Blackie, Chris Lowrey, Josh Blackie
Replacements: McCartney/Francis Smith, Tony Woodcock, Dean Budd, Onosa'i Auva'a, Grayson Hart, Michael Hobbs, Winston Stanley
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker