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SR18 Preview: Reds v Bulls {10-3-18}

The Bulls kick off their three-week overseas tour when they go head-to-head with a rejuvenated Reds side in Brisbane on Saturday.

With matches against the Chiefs and Crusaders to come, the Bulls will be determined to get their tour off to a positive start ahead of those fixtures against the New Zealand heavyweights.

This will be easier said than done though as the Reds head into this match with their tails up after they claimed a morale-boosting 18-10 victory over the Brumbies in their Australian derby in Brisbane last weekend.

The Bulls, by contrast, will be keen to return to winning ways after losing their previous match, against the Lions in Pretoria.

The three-time champions have shown signs of improvement – after finishing in 15th place on the overall table last year – under the guidance of former All Blacks and Lions head coach John Mitchell, with their victory over the Hurricanes particularly impressive.

Each of the last 11 meetings between the Reds and Bulls has been won by the home team on the day, though, and this will be the first meeting in Queensland since 2013.

A win this weekend will be a momentous one for the Reds as it will be the first time they notch consecutive Super Rugby wins since May-June 2014.

Victory will also be a special achievement for the Bulls as they have won just two of their last 19 games outside South Africa, with their last international win coming in Round 10, 2016.

The Bulls have won 16 lineouts per game with a lineout success rate of 94 percent, the best of any team in either category this campaign and will need that to continue if they are to conquer Suncorp Stadium.

Team news: Reds head coach Brad Thorn has made one change and three positional switches to his starting XV for this clash. All the alterations are in the backline with Samu Kerevi shifting from outside to inside centre, Chris Feauai-Sautia moving from the wing to outside centre and Filipo Daugunu earning his run-on debut on the wing.

The pack remains unchanged from last week’s team which defeated the Brumbies 18-10 in Brisbane. The match will be Feauai-Sautia’s 50th Queensland and Super Rugby cap, after making his debut back in 2012.

Handre Pollard will return to his regular fly-half position for the Bulls in this match. The Springbok number 10 had to fill in at inside centre for last weekend’s clash against the Lions at Ellis Park following the late withdrawal of captain Burger Odendaal.

New signing Johnny Kotze will play at inside centre against the Reds while there is also a return to the starting line-up for Warrick Gelant at full-back, with Divan Rossouw falling to the bench.

Previous results:

2016: Bulls won 41-22 in Pretoria
2015: Bulls won 43-22 in Pretoria
2013: Reds won 23-18 in Brisbane
2012: Bulls won 61-8 in Pretoria
2011: Reds won 39-30 in Brisbane
2010: Reds won 19-12 in Brisbane
2009: Bulls won 33-20 in Pretoria
2008: Reds won 40-8 in Brisbane
2007: Bulls won 92-3 in Pretoria

The teams:

Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Duncan Paia’aua

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Handre Pollard (c), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Nick de Jager, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Divan Rossouw

Date: Saturday, March 10
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 18:45 local (08:45 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
Television match official: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)



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