Flu cripples Bulls camp
The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be hoping for a better medical bill of health on Wednesday morning after their preparations for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup game with the Sharks were severely disrupted by a massive flu bug that hit the camp.
No less than 12 of the starting line-up that lost to the Cheetahs, and coaches Pine Pienaar, Pieter Rossouw and manager Wynie Strydom were all confined to bed on Tuesday as the team cancelled their practice session for a second day in a row to try and stave off the effects of the virus that has hit the camp.
Pienaar is hoping that Wednesday brings a healthier crop of players to Loftus as the team planned on announcing their starting line-up for Saturday’s game. They also have a commitment to run a development clinic and train in Atteridgeville as part of SuperSport’s Let’s Play initiative.
Pienaar had to cancel Monday’s practice because of the bug, but realised early on Tuesday that it wasn’t worth training as more players started reporting ill.
“We were worried on Monday, when there were 10 guys, but on Tuesday more guys arrived sick, so we had no option but to cancel practice,” Pienaar told supersport.com, “It is a major concern, at this moment we don’t know if we can select a side, we will have to see how the guys arrive on Wednesday before we decide. If we had to practice today, we’d practice with around four first choice players so we had no other option.
“It seems it is just a bug, and hopefully it will run its course, but it is a major concern in terms of preparation, especially with the log leaders here on Saturday.”
Preparation is the big thing. With the Cheetahs loss still haunting them, the Bulls wanted to look at aspects of their game before the Sharks match, and have cancelled the normal Thursday off-day that players have in order to try and squeeze in an extra practice session.
Team doctor Org Strauss said while Monday absentees were a regular thing after a tough game, he wasn’t concerned until he saw Tuesday’s list of walking wounded.
“There are a lot of players down,” Dr Strauss told supersport.com, “They are all under medication and have been told to rest. Hopefully it won’t be long before they are all on their feet again.”
If Pienaar can select a side, the question will come into it just where Johann Sadie fits into the team at the moment. The former Stormer is back to full fitness and in Pienaar’s words “is in the mix again” but it remains unclear which of Francois Venter, Ulrich Beyers or Jan Serfontein will miss out on the match 22 to give Sadie a chance to play.
A decision also needs to be made at flank, where Arno Botha has recovered from his hamstring injury and captain Dewald Potgieter seems ready to play again after a haematoma kept him out of the Cheetah match. With Botha’s replacement CJ Stander starring in Bloemfontein with two tries, it won’t be an easy choice for Pienaar.