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Super Rugby preview: Lions take on Bulls at Ellis Park
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- Bulls brush Brumbies aside
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- Lions stun Bulls in Jo'burg
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Bulls will look to work their way into the Super Rugby play-off places when they take on the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Pretoria-based franchise, currently ninth in the Super Rugby ladder, travel to Johannesburg with just four points between them and the third-placed Crusaders.
Frans Ludeke's side have won their last three outings and can move into play-off contention with victory over the 14th placed Lions on Saturday afternoon.
After a five-match winless run between March and April had left the Bulls' hopes hanging in the balance, but a late surge could them turn the tide and reach the knockout stages.
Meanwhile, a 29-19 reverse at the hands of Western Force in Perth last weekend was a seventh straight loss for the Lions, who sit level on points with Queensland Reds at the foot of the table.
Their poor run has led to Lions coach Johan Ackermann making six changes to his starting XV for the Ellis Park showdown.
In the forwards, Ackermann has made wholesale changes to the front-row with Schalk van der Merwe, Robbie Coetzee and Julian Redelinghuys all brought in.
Meanwhile, in the back-line, Chrysander Botha will start at left wing, where he replaces Anthony Volmink while Stokkies Hanekom replaces Deon van Rensburg at outside centre and Courtnall Skosan will fill the right wing berth, having recovered from injury.
Bulls boss Ludeke has makes just three changes, all in the pack, to the side which claimed a 44-23 victory over the Brumbies in Pretoria last time out.
Jacques Engelbrecht is promoted from the bench to start at No 8, with Grant Hattingh moving to lock in place of Victor Matfield who is rested.
In another rotational swap, Marcel van der Merwe will start at tighthead, with Werner Kruger playing off the bench.
Wimpie van der Walt replaces Engelbrecht on the bench, where there is also a return for fly-half Louis Fouche, who replaced the absent Handre Pollard, as he captains the Junior Springboks in New Zealand.
Lions: 15 Van Wyk, 14 Skosan, 13 Hanekom, 12 Hollenbach, 11 Botha, 10 Boshoff, 9 Cronje; 1 S van der Merwe, 2 Coetzee, 3 Redelinghuys, 4 Mathee, 5 Mostert, 6 Kriel, 7 Tecklenburg 8 Whiteley (capt).
Replacements: 16 A van der Merwe, 17 Fourie, 18 Dreyer, 19 Britz, 20 Minnie, 21 De Klerk, 22 Jantjies, 23 Van Rensburg.
Bulls: 15 Visser, 14 Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Serfontein, 11 Basson, 10 Potgieter, 9 Hougaard; 1 Greyling, 2 Visagie, 3 M van der Merwe, 4 F van der Merwe (capt), 5 Hattingh, 6 Ross, 7 Du Plessis, 8 J Engelbrecht.
Replacements: 16 Mbonambi, 17 Kruger, 18 Mellett, 19 Willemse, 20 Van der Walt, 21 Van Zyl, 22 Fouche, 23 Smith.
You can see Lions v Bulls live from 4:05pm on Sky Sports 4HD
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|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com