Bulls lose Venter for eight weeks
The Vodacom Bulls were once again rocked by the injury curse on Monday morning – but this time not from a player who was on the field in their 26-20 win over the Toyota Cheetahs this past weekend.
Rather the bad news comes from midfielder Francois Venter, who missed out on the game to undergo a scan, and on the basis of those results was ruled out for eight weeks with a “sportsman’s groin” injury.
Venter, who last played against the Reds in Brisbane three weeks ago, seems to have picked up the injury in training, and went for the scan last week before getting the confirmation on Monday morning that he would miss the next two months of Vodacom Super Rugby.
It is a tough blow for the Bulls, who also lost back-up lock Cornell Hess to an ACL rupture for six to eight months this past week.
On the positive side, both Boks Bjorn Basson and Francois Hougaard should be ready to play this week, and have been given the all-clear to train on Wednesday when they return from the current Springbok training camp. Both players were cleared last week, only for the management to decide they needed another week off before returning to the team.
The other good news is that the hamstring tear suffered by Jano Vermaak which subsequently ruled him out of the Bok training camp, is not as bad as initially feared. Vermaak will also be able to train on Wednesday.
Still, there will be some concern until either of the two scrumhalves are cleared for duty, with Rudy Paige the replacement if both are ruled out.
Akona Ndungane (knee), Deon Stegmann (rib) and Jacques Potgieter (groin) have all been given the day off with niggles, but should return to training on Tuesday. Flanker Jean Cook will sit out this week with an ankle strain.
Of the long-term injuries, Wynand Olivier is set to return to action next week, while both Grant Hattingh and Zane Kirchner still have four weeks before they return. The Bulls' off-season buy, former Free State prop Marcel van der Merwe, will finally be ready for action on 6 May after missing six months with torn knee ligaments.