Basson to tour with Bulls
Injured Springbok wing Bjorn Basson has been included in the Bulls' 26-man squad for their tour to Australasia, although he will only join his team-mates in a week's time.
Basson injured ankle ligaments in the victory over the Western Force last weekend and medical advice suggested that he only travel once the swelling of the injury subsides.
The squad includes one new cap in prop Hencus van Wyk. The former Blue Bulls U21 player can pack on both sides of the scrum and is match-fit, having played for UP-Tuks in the Varsity Cup.
The Pretoria-based franchise kick off their tour against the Blues in Auckland on Sunday before taking on the Crusaders, Reds and Brumbies.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is hoping that the late departure of the team to New Zealand will help combat the jet lag before their clash with the Blues, who are unbeaten after two matches under the guidance of new coach John Kirwan.
“They are certainly playing a very enterprising style of rugby and deserved both their very convincing wins," said Ludeke.
"We have been good and bad in our two matches, so the obvious aim would be to eliminate the errors and produce the good spells for longer periods.”
Ludeke acknowledges the importance of the trip, given the poor record of his side in Auckland, Christchurch, Brisbane and Canberra.
“We will have to pick up points on tour if we want to be around at the business end of the competition," he added.
"It is true that we have poor records at those venues, but this side has shown in the past that they can set new standards and break down barriers.”
The Bulls have battled against the Blues in previous encounters. In the 13 matches played between the two, the Bulls have only won four, with one draw, but often lost heavily.
Bulls squad: Zane Kirchner, Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, Bjorn Basson, Lionel Mapoe, JJ Engelbrecht, Wynand Olivier, Jan Serfontein, Louis Fouchè, Mornè Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies (c), Arno Botha, Jacques Potgieter, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Grant Hattingh, Juandrè Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Frik Kirsten, Mornè Mellett, Hencus van Wyk, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Willie Wepener.