Bulls hit by triple injury blow
They may have been buoyed by winning their Vodacom Super Rugby opener against the DHL Stormers on Friday night, but for the Vodacom Bulls victory came at a high price after they were hit by several big injuries sustained during the match.
The Bulls' biggest loss was flanker Dewald Potgieter with grade 2 medial knee ligament damage. Potgieter is likely to miss the tour after being ruled out for between three and four weeks with the injury.
But if that wasn’t enough, the Bulls also lost the services of flanker Deon Stegmann and midfielder JJ Engelbrecht to injuries for this coming weekend. Both will undergo a sonar today to determine the extent of their injuries and are expected to make the tour squad that will leave on Sunday. Stegmann is struggling with a hamstring strain, while Engelbrecht has a hip flexor.
While the Bulls do have a lot of depth at both centre and flank, there are a few niggles that need to be overcome. IRB Junior Player of the year Jan Serfontein has a stiff quadriceps muscle and has been given off training until Wednesday after another fine performance as the Blue Bulls beat the Cheetahs 52-20 in their Vodacom Cup pre-season friendly game in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Arno Botha, who is struggling with cellulitis in his one knee, has been given the go-ahead to train while others on the medical list are Grant Hattingh (sick), Ulrich Beyers (ankle) and Jacques du Plessis (wrist). All are expected to resume training at various intervals this week.
It seems Akona Ndungane’s ankle injury is a thing of the past, while both Wilhelm Steenkamp and Dean Greyling will be able to tour. Steenkamp (wrist injury) will resume training next week while Greyling has one or two weeks to go before he can return from his stress fracture injury in his foot.
The one question mark still remains over Jacques Potgieter, who was withdrawn with a groin strain from the team to face the Stormers, but appears nowhere on the team injury list. Potgieter would be a perfect replacement for his namesake Dewald if fit, while Arno Botha would also come into the equation.
At centre, Francois Venter is likely to be the favourite to replace Engelbrecht, although Frans Ludeke also has the option of returning Lionel Mapoe to the midfield now that Ndungane is fit again. Jan Serfontein is also one whose name should come into play when midfield selections are made.