Super 14
Pretorius wins Bulls debut against Reds
February 11, 2009

The Bulls have named debutant Jaco Pretorius at outside-centre for their opening Super 14 game with the Reds at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Pretorius joins up with Wynand Olivier in midfield, with JP Nel settling for a place on the bench. Bulls boss Frans Ludeke has highlighted the importance of possessing strength in depth in midfield.

"We need them both and we back both of them," he said. "JP knows the system and all the players are very aware of the fact that the Super 14 is a long and rigorous competition and therefore it is very important to have the necessary depth in all the positions."

Morne Steyn partners Springbok Fourie Du Preez at half-back, while Bryan Habana starts on the wing. Victor Matfield leads the side and packs down alongside Bakkies Botha at lock.

Reds hooker Sean Hardman will become the first player to play 100 Super Rugby games for the province, while at the other end of the scale Adam Byrnes wins his first cap from the second-row. Hardman packs down alongside Greg Holmes and Dayna Edwards in the front-row.

"It's a wonderful achievement for Sean and whilst there are no easy positions in a rugby team, I guess there is a little more merit in the fact that he is a front rower," said Reds coach Phil Mooney. "Sean, as a credit to him, prepares very well and that's why he's been able to string together such a long career. We're all extremely pleased for him that he now reaches this milestone."

Wallaby centre Berrick Barnes leads the side, with Ben Lucas and Quade Cooper starting at half-back.

Bulls: Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (capt), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kuün, Gurthrö Steenkamp.

Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Frik Kirsten, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, JP Nel.

Reds: Greg Holmes, Sean Hardman, Dayna Edwards, Van Humphries, Adam Byrnes, Scott Higginbotham, Daniel Braid, Leroy Houston, Ben Lucas, Quade Cooper, Brando Va'aulu, Berrick Barnes (capt), Charlie Fetoai, Digby Ioane, Peter Hynes

Replacements: Saia Faingaa, Laurie Weeks, Robert Simmons, Poutasi Luafutu, Will Genia, Anthony Faingaa, Mark McLinden


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