Bulls get Burger back for Chiefs challenge

Burger Odendaal of the Bulls faces off against the Chiefs during last season's Super Rugby clash in Hamilton. Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Bulls coach John Mitchell is able to call on captain and centre Burger Odendaal for the Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday, fielding his preferred backline for the first time this season.

Odendaal slots into the number 12 jersey, with Jesse Kriel outside of him and Handre Pollard running the game from flyhalf.

Warrick Gelant, who made his first start in the defeat to the Reds last weekend, will take up the fullback position, with Travis Ismaiel and Divan Rossouw on the wings. André Warner keeps his place at scrumhalf.

Mitchell has made significant changes to his pack for the fixture, with a rib injury to number eight Nic de Jager seeing Hanro Liebenberg move to the back of the scrum.

Trevor Nyakane takes over from Frans van Wyk at tighthead prop, and Thembelani Bholi comes into the side at flank in the place of Liebenberg.

Experienced hooker and former Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss starts on the bench, with Jaco Visagie preferred in the number two jersey.

Lock Jason Jenkins has been named on the bench but faces a late fitness test, with his place to be taken by Tim Agaba if he is not able to play.

Meanwhile, Mitchell, who returns to Waikato having spent time as both a player and a coach with the Chiefs, says he is enjoying the challenge of reviving the fortunes of the Bulls.

"It's a team effort, we have to turn it around," he told stuff.co.nz.

"Clearly, we know where we want to head to and we know what we want to do, it's just the timeline, we don't know how long it'll take.

"I'm really enjoying it. And we've only just started the process, so it's about finishing the process and making sure that we leave the club in a really good position to be able to become one of the best clubs in this competition again."

Team: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal (captain), Divan Rossouw, Handré Pollard, André Warner, Hanro Liebenberg, Thembelani Bholi, Roelof Smit, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka, Conraad van Vuuren, Jason Jenkins/Tim Agaba, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Johnny Kotze