SA latest – Du Preez benched brings you news from South Africa’s Super Rugby franchises.

Du Preez benched - Francois Hougaard starts in place of Fourie du Preez for the Bulls against the Reds in Brisbane.

The move is surprising given the perilous position the Bulls find themselves in. The Bulls have said it was part of a planned rotational policy. Gerhard van den Heever fills the void Hougaard leaves on the wing.

In other changes, Jaco Pretorius and Flip van der Merwe have failed to recover from injuries. Stephan Dippennaar starts at outside centre and Akona Ndungane comes onto a bench spilt 4-3 in favour of forwards.

Chiliboy Ralepelle displaces Gary Botha at hooker, and Derick Kuün runs on at openside flank, Deon Stegmann dropping to the wood.

Bulls – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Stephan Dippenaar, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Derick Kuün, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Deon Stegmann, 20 Francois Brummer, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Akona Ndungane.

Jean still sidelined – Jean de Villiers failed a fitness test on Monday and will miss his second match in succession.

The Stormers’ No 12 went down with a groin injury in training last week, and was replaced by Juan de Jongh when the Stormers hosted the Reds. It’s been confirmed that De Villiers is still battling with the injury and won’t be risked against the Lions.

Lions lose two more – Flank Josh Strauss and lock George Earle have been ruled out of the clash with the Stormers due to concussion.

The news follows James Kamana’s season-ending injury, meaning the Lions will be without three players for Saturday’s game. David Bulbring is likely to replace Earle while Cobus Grobbelaar should start in Strauss’s stead.

Meanwhile, Butch James could make an early start to his Lions tenure. If Bath fail to reach the Premiership play-offs, James will feature for the Lions against the Brumbies in mid-May.