Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Springbok midfielder Wynand Olivier has undergone an operation which will prevent him from doing most of the pre-season training with the Vodacom Bulls.
WIN a Toshiba Touch Screen TabletOlivier, who was named vice-captain of the Vodacom Bulls team for the 2012 season, tore ligaments in his bicep and shoulder and underwent an operation to have them re-attached.
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It will mean he has to sit out all training until middle December, where he will start running again, but should be ready by the time the pre-season friendlies roll around in early February.
Olivier was happy to be appointed on the leadership panel, with captain Pierre Spies beating out other candidates such as fellow forwards Dewald Potgieter and Chiliboy Ralepelle to the position.
Olivier however knows the magnitude of the task that awaits him and Spies in shaping a young and talented side into championship material.
“I learnt a lot from Fourie (du Preez) when he was there but it is still a great honour to be appointed in the position,” Olivier said.
“I’ve got some big shoes to fill – if you think of the role that Fourie and Victor (Matfield) played in leading this team. There is a big responsibility to help get the new guys and the younger players in and let them adjust properly. The next two months will be vital for us.
“ It is a bit different, but looking at the guys who’ve joined us, I’m very excited about the players we have and the new players that have come in. After the Currie Cup, the younger players have adjusted well, so there are a lot of good challenges lying ahead for us.
“ It is a new challenge for us. The new guys will certainly make things interesting for the guys who have been there for a while. What is good though, is that there is a lot of competition within the team. Everyone is talking about a new era and there is a lot of hard work that lies ahead, but that in itself is exciting.”
Olivier laughed when asked about those outside Pretoria who want to write the Bulls off already. His broad smile was about as big a warning as you could get.
“You can never write the Bulls off totally, and even in the Currie Cup the younger players showed what they can do. We know Super Rugby is another level, but our coaching staff have great plans to get the guys ready.
“We all have bought into the plans and we are willing to do the hard yards in the off-season. We definitely won’t be playing to make up numbers – we want to win the Super Rugby competition.”