Vodacom Bulls Pick Ralepelle at hooker for Cheetahs-clash

Feb 22 • National, Super Rugby, Super Rugby News • 1021 Views • 1 Comment on Vodacom Bulls Pick Ralepelle at hooker for Cheetahs-clash

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Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke included Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker for his team’s second match of Super Rugby, against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday.

The inclusion of the 25 year old rake is one of two changes to the side that secured a win over the Lions last weekend.

Ralepelle, who was injured for most of the 2010 Super season and regained fitness in the Vodacom Cup side, last started for the Bulls in the number two jersey on April 11th, 2009. He replaces the injured Gary Botha, who is suffering from a shoulder strain.

Ralepelle’s role as back-up hooker will now be taken by Derick Kuün, who played off the bench as a loose forward against the Lions.

Kuün was a regular in the Bulls sides of 2007 and 2008, wearing the number two jersey.

Danie Rossouw, who had to pull out of the Lions game due to an infected skin, is back and will play off the bench.

At the back, Jaco Pretorius has recovered from his back strain and slots in alongside Wynand Olivier to resume their midfield combination.Stephan Dippenaar, who played against the Lions, drops to the bench, with Jaco van der Westhuyzen losing out on a trip to Bloemfontein.

Ludeke admitted that his greater experience gave Pretorius the nod, but indicated that rotation will be a big part of his plan to counter the long season ahead.

“Every player knows where he stands with regards to team selection and all know the importance of the squad system,” the coach said.

“The Cheetahs always manage to get us into a dogfight and we will have to fight this one in the trenches to secure quality first phase ball. Their ability to counter attack is also very good and rates among the best in the competition.”

Bulls captain, Victor Matfield, will lead the team for a record 62nd time. He said the fact that the Cheetahs are yet to beat the Bulls in Super Rugby, is not a true reflection of past battles.

“The Cheetahs have a great showing against other local sides and it proves how dangerous they can be. Matches between us are always tight and very physical. We cannot expect to make the same mistakes we did last week and have the same result. We will have to establish our pattern and sustain it.”

Bjorn Basson will run out against his 2010 team mates, while Flip van der Merwe also played Super Rugby for the central team before and Gurthrö Steenkamp played Currie Cup rugby for the Free State.

The team (withSuper caps) is:

Zane Kirchner (41), Gerhard van den Heever (18), Jaco Pretorius (37), Wynand Olivier (72), Bjorn Basson (10), Morné Steyn (74), Fourie du Preez (100), Pierre Spies (57), Dewald Potgieter (32), Deon Stegmann (40), Victor Matfield (110), Bakkies Botha (87), Werner Kruger (43), Chiliboy Ralepelle (20), Gurthrö Steenkamp (67). Replacements: Derick Kuün (57), Rossouw de Klerk (1), Flip van der Merwe (20), Danie Rossouw (102), Ruan Snyman (1), Francois Brummer (1), Stephan Dippenaar (13).

Milestones:

  Victor Matfield will lead the Bulls for the 62nd time. It is a South African record in Super Rugby.

  Fourie du Preez and Wynand Olivier will be looking to score their 100th point in the competition, with both on 19 tries.

Vodacom Bulls fixture list for 2011 is:

19 Feb: v Lions (Johannesburg) 19:10 – won 24-20
25 Feb: v Cheetahs (Bloemfontein) 19:10
5 Maart: v Highlanders (Pretoria) 19:10
19 Maart: v Stormers (Pretoria) 19:10
26 Maart: v Lions (Pretoria) 17:05
2 April: v Hurricanes (Wellington) 08:35
9 April: v Crusaders (Christchurch) 09:35
16 April: v Reds (Brisbane) 11:40
23 April: v Western Force (Perth) 14:05
30 April: v Chiefs (Pretoria) 17:05
14 Mei: v Rebels (Pretoria) 17:05
21 Mei: v Sharks (Durban) 19:10
28 Mei: v Cheetahs (Pretoria) 19:10
3 Junie: v Waratahs (Pretoria) 19:10
11 Junie: v Stormers (Cape Town) 18:10
18 Junie: v Sharks (Pretoria) 17:05

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