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Du Preez set for Bulls return


Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez

Fourie du Preez will return to competitive rugby for the first time in over eight months after being named by defending champions Bulls in their line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby opener against the Lions in Johannesburg.

The veteran South Africa scrum-half has been out since June last year when he underwent surgery on a long-standing shoulder problem.

He will win his 100th cap for the Pretoria outfit and also become the first back-line player for the franchise to reach the century mark, following in the footsteps of captain Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw and Pedrie Wannenburg - all forwards.

Newly signed winger Bjorn Basson has also been named in the line-up by coach Frans Ludeke, whose 22-man list includes 15 players involved in last year's final.

Their opponents, the Lions, have enjoyed some major financial investments since last season, with several new players also brought in, and Ludeke said: "They certainly have some momentum going into the competition and will ask serious questions.

"We will focus on what we do best though and feel that we have put in the work to come out on top. We are certainly not looking past this match and realise that we will have to execute on the day."

Du Preez, 28, who missed the entire 2010 international season as well as the Currie Cup, said: "The Super Rugby competition is the toughest in world rugby and to be able to play that long is a great feeling and a massive highlight for me.

"I was privileged to play with many great players in this time and also in a structure that allows one to really enjoy the game of rugby. I feel honoured to play 100 games for such a team."

The Bulls team: Z Kirchner; G van den Heever, S Dippenaar, W Olivier, B Basson; M Steyn, F du Preez; G Steenkamp, G Botha, W Kruger, B Botha, V Matfield, D Stegmann, D Potgieter, P Spies.

Replacements: C Ralepelle, R de Klerk, D Rossouw, D Kuun, R Snyman, F Brummer, J van der Westhuyzen.

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