Akker van der Merwe drops into the middle of the Bulls scrum on Saturday when the Pretorianians play against Zebre in a United Rugby Championship match in Italy.
The 32-year-old player was on the substitutes’ bench for the Bulls’ first two matches, but he will now fill Johan Grobbelaar’s shoes in the starting team.
He will join Simphiwe Matanzima and Wilco Louw in the front row.
A few months ago, Van der Merwe signed a three-year contract with the Pretoria rugby team after playing 70 games for the Sale Sharks in England. He has also previously been in action for the Leopards, Lions and Sharks, while he has run out three times for the Springboks.
The Bulls lost by seven points against Ulster in Belfast last weekend and they will want to get back on the winning track against the Italian club as soon as possible.
In Devon Williams, Sebastian de Klerk, Stedman Gans, Sergeal Petersen and Johan Goosen, Jake White chose a dangerous back line for the match, while the exciting Chris Hanekom together with Elrigh Louw and Marcell Coetzee form the loose trio.
The match starts at 15:00 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Bulls: Devon Williams (full back), Sebastian de Klerk (right wing), Stedman Gans (outside centre), David Kriel (inside centre), Sergeal Petersen (left wing), Johan Goosen (fly-half), Zak Burger (scrum-half), Chris Hanekom (eighth man), Elrigh Louw (flank), Marcell Coetzee (captain and flank), Ruan Nortjé (lock), Janko Swanepoel (lock), Wilco Louw (prop), Akker van der Merwe (hooker) and Simphiwe Matanzima (prop). Substitutes: Johan Grobbelaar, Dylan Smith, Mornay Smith, Reinhardt Ludwig, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith and Wandisile Simelane.
- PRC Scoring:
- Stormers: 10 points after two games
- Connacht: 9 points after two games
- Ulster: 9 points after two games
- Edinburgh: 8 points after two games
- Munster: 7 points after two games
- Bulls: 6 points after two games
- Glasgow Warriors: 6 points after two games
- Benetton: 6 points after two games
- Ospreys: 6 points after two games
- Cardiff: 5 points after two games
- Leinster: 5 points after two games
- Zebre: 4 points after two matches
- Lions: 3 points after two games
- Dragons: two points after two games
- Sharks: no points after two games
- Scarlets: no points after two games