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Schalk Brits back from suspension to bolster Bulls

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PRETORIA (Reuters) – Bulls hooker Schalk Brits has completed a four-week suspension and will start for his side in their home Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, boosting his Springbok chances ahead of the World Cup.

Brits is likely to travel with the boks to Japan for the global tournament as the third-choice hooker, and is highly valued by coach Rassie Erasmus for his experience after a decade playing in England.

But his season suffered a setback when he was red-carded for striking rival hooker Akker van der Merwe in retaliation at the end of March.

Jason Jenkins, who like Brits last featured for the Bulls in their 19-16 victory in Durban, returns from injury at lock.

The pair replace Jaco Visagie and Jannes Kirsten respectively, though the latter will move into the number seven jersey.

“Schalk has been itching to play for the last couple of weeks and he will be very keen. Jason also recovered well and looked very sharp in training,” Bulls coach Pote Human said in a media release on Tuesday.

“Both are players of international standard, so it is great to have them back. Our pack will need to step up to the plate if we want to contain the Crusaders, and these two are certainly capable of adding to that.”

Other changes see Andre Warner at scrumhalf and fit-again Burger Odendaal feature at inside centre.

The Bulls beat the Waratahs 28-21 this past weekend and currently top the South African Conference with six wins from their 10 matches.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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