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Super Rugby: Bulls v Brumbies preview
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- Sharks shut down Blues
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- Hurricanes hit Chiefs for six
The Bulls will welcome back captain Flip van der Merwe for Friday's Super Rugby clas against the Brumbies in Pretoria.
The lock's return is one of three changes to the side that beat the Stormers two weeks ago.
Werner Kruger comes in at tight-head prop for Marcel van der Merwe, while Jacques-Louis Potgieter takes the number ten jersey with Handre Pollard dropping to the bench.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke welcomed Van der Merwe back into the fold for an important game against the second placed Brumbies.
"Flip's leadership is very important to the team and as a senior player he does set an excellent example," Ludeke told the clubs official website.
"We will need to be at our best in facing a Brumbies side that has played some great rugby this year. We have made slight changes for the match and rotated certain players and I believe we will be competitive come Friday."
Van der Merwe has high hopes for the game and the possibility of securing a play-off spot with five games remaining.
"We are well rested following a bye last week and we trained well this week. It is important to start the match with a lot of energy and I believe everyone will do so," Van der Merwe said.
"We don't look ahead in the competition, but know how important a win will be with regards to a possible play-off spot."
Leon Power returns to the Brumbies' starting XV after recovering from a knee strain.
Power is included at lock and Scott Fardy switches to blindside flanker, while Fotu Auelua and Jordan Smiler come onto the bench and Tom McVerry drops out of the match-day squad.
Bulls: 15 Visser, 14 Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Serfontein, 11 Basson, 10 Potgieter, 9 Hougaard; 1 Greyling, 2 Visagie, 3 Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe (capt), 5 Matfield, 6 Ross, 7 Du Plessis, 8 Hattingh
Replacements: 16 Mbonambi, 17 Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Pollard, 23 Beyers
Brumbies: 15 Mogg, 14 Speight, 13 Kuridrani, 12 Lealiifano, 11 Coleman, 10 Toomua, 9 White; 1 Sio, 2 Moore, 3 Alexander, 4 Power, 5 Carter, 6 Fardy, 7 Butler, 8 Mowen (capt)
Replacements: 16 Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Auelua, 20 Smiler, 21 Hoffmann, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 McCabe
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|Saturday 2nd August|
|Waratahs 33 - 32 Crusaders|
|Saturday 26th July|
|Waratahs 26 - 8 Brumbies|
|Crusaders 38 - 6 Sharks|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Sharks 31 - 27 Highlanders|
|Brumbies 32 - 30 Chiefs|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Stormers 10 - 34 Sharks|
|Lions 60 - 25 Cheetahs|
|Reds 3 - 34 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 8 Highlanders|
|Friday 11th July|
|Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Brumbies 47 - 25 Western Force|
|Blues 8 - 11 Chiefs|
|Sunday 6th July|
|Waratahs 44 - 16 Highlanders|
|Saturday 5th July|
|Cheetahs 27 - 20 Sharks|
|Stormers 16 - 0 Bulls|
|Western Force 30 - 20 Reds|
|Crusaders 21 - 13 Blues|
|Friday 4th July|
|Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne Rebels|
|Chiefs 24 - 16 Hurricanes|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com