Skipper shakes off injury to lead Bulls into battle

RUGBY UNION: Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe has made a swift recovery from an arm injury and will lead his team out in their Super Rugby clash against the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium tonight.

Van der Merwe was injured in last weekend's bonus-point defeat against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named the same starting team that played in that loss, but made one change on the bench, where Rudy Paige will act as scrum-half cover, and may make his first appearance this year.

Van der Merwe (pictured) saw it crucial to come back in time for this must-win clash for both teams.

"We realise we are facing one of the leading teams in the competitions in the Waratahs ... we are desperate for a win," he said.

The match is the Bulls' first of two in Australia, and their third on this tour, after already playing the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.