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Bok SOS good news for Van der Merwe, bad for Bulls

By Bruce Fraser | Jul 15, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THERE was good news for Blue Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe when he got an SOS yesterday from Springbok coach Peter de Villiers to join the side in New Zealand ahead of the second Tri-Nations Test in Wellington on Saturday.

The news wasn't good for Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, who was banking on Van der Merwe to be in his team to take on the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Already a bit thin in the locking department with the absence of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha to Springbok duty, Ludeke yesterday named Wilhelm Steenkamp to partner Fudge Mabeta in the middle row of the scrum.

"We've had the past four weeks to prepare for a situation like this," said Ludeke at Loftus Versfeld yesterday.

"We are blessed to have someone like Wilhelm to step into the position."

The Sharks will still be hurting after their narrow 34-40 loss to Griquas last weekend and will be looking to make amends at the Shark Tank.

But Bulls captain Gary Botha has confidence in his troops.

"It's a good opportunity for other players coming through and we just have to concentrate on our game," Botha said.

"If you worry too much about the opposition it is easy to lose focus on the task at hand."

Apart from the one change with Steenkamp, the Bulls line-up is unchanged from last week with John Mametsa again on the left wing.

"John showed his class last week and deserved his man of the match award," Ludeke said.

"We known what Gerhard (van den Heever) can do in the open field so we must just create the space for him."


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