Stegmann to lead Bulls
Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann will lead the Pretoria-based outfit in Saturday's Gauteng Sports Challenge against the Lions at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The 26-year-old makes a welcome return to the playing field after being sidelined with injury for most of the 2012 season and will lead a team that combines youth and experience.
Stegmann is one of four Springboks in the starting line-up, which will also see 2012 Baby Boks Travis Ismaiel, Jan Serfontein and Paul Willemse take the field, with Wiaan Liebenberg and Handrè Pollard on the bench.
Lionel Mapoe, who is on loan from the Lions, will start at outside centre.
"This is exciting times for us," said Bulls coach, Frans Ludeke.
"We are at the start of a new season and we cannot wait to get going. We have big plans and big dreams for 2013 and are keen to start. The Lions have played twice now and have that advantage, but we have worked hard in training and will give it a full go."
Stegmann will return to Orlando Stadium, the venue of the Bulls' last Super Rugby triumph in 2010.
He said the experience gained from that victory is something they hope to use.
"The atmosphere was amazing then and it is good to be able to go back and play in front of our fans again," explained Stegmann.
"The Lions will certainly not make it easy, as they have a lot to prove, so we will have to find our combinations and feet from the start."
Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Louis Fouchè, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Juan Schoeman.Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Wiaan Liebenberg, 19 Cornell Hess, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Handrè Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Jacques du Plessis.