Van der Merwe fit to face Waratahs

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has named an unchanged side to face the Waratahs on Saturday.

Springbok and Bulls rugby player Flip van der Merwe. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe has been passed fit to face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday in the first of two matches the Bulls will play in Australia as part of their Super Rugby tour.

Van der Merwe has recovered sufficiently from the arm injury he suffered in last weekend's loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin, and will lead the team out at the Allianz Stadium.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named the same starting line-up that played in Dunedin, with the only change to the match day squad coming on the bench, where Rudy Paige will act as scrumhalf cover for starting number nine Piet van Zyl.

Lock Victor Matfield will become the most capped Bulls player in Super Rugby when he takes to the field for his 124th match for the Pretoria franchise, surpassing Mornè Steyn (123 matches).

Ludeke believes his side needs to play well for eighty minutes if they are to claim a victory against Michael Cheika's Waratahs side.

"We are very keen to get back on the winning trail. We had opportunities in Napier and Dunedin, but could not convert enough of those to secure us victory. We have played well in patches, so will be looking for a solid performance in Sydney."

Ludeke is well aware of the quality of their opposition this weekend, but believes in the quality of his own side to get a result.

"We realise we are facing one of the leading teams in the competitions in the Waratahs, who have been playing great rugby this season, but also know that we are very hard to beat if we stay in our structures, rhythm and manage to keep the ball."

Van der Merwe said they owe it to themselves to deliver on Saturday.

"We are desperate for a win and the only way we will achieve that is by showing up and playing to our potential on Saturday. We have ambitions in this tournament, but we need to make a stronger statement about that than we have done up to now.

Bulls team to play the Waratahs: Jurgen Visser, Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Piet van Zyl, Grant Hattingh, Jacques du Plessis, Jono Ross, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Marcel van der Merwe, Morné Mellett, Paul Willemse, Jacques Engelbrecht, Rudy Paige, Handré Pollard, William Small-Smith.