Du Preez injury a concern
Pretoria – The Bulls boarded the plane to Perth a motivated bunch, but there is also some concern over injured scrumhalf Fourie du Preez.
The scrumhalf injured the same ankle during Tuesday’s final training session in South Africa – which also left prop Gurthrö Steenkamp with a bloodied mouth – than he did in a warm-up session two weeks ago.
Du Preez was immediately treated with ice and the ankle strapped.
“It is not a good time for him to injure the ankle now,” Bulls team doctor Org Strauss said before the team’s departure.
“The ankle is likely to swell as we will be in the air for six hours. We will strap it as tightly as possible to limit the swelling. Fourie will not have a pleasant flight because he will be in pain.”
Du Preez celebrates his birthday on Wednesday and the present he will be looking for is the news that he will be able to play against the Western Force.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is not concerned. “I believe he will be ready. If necessary, we will bring Ruan Snyman over, but hopefully Fourie will be all right.”
If Du Preez is not 100%, Francois Hougaard is likely to start at scrumhalf, with Jaco van der Westhuyzen coming in on the left wing.
Jaco Pretorius will also return as Wynand Olivier’s centre partner.
Pretorius showed with his running lines during training how dangerous the Bulls can be at the back.
Even so, Ludeke is not concerned if opponents want to spoil the Bulls’ quick possession at the breakdowns.
In that case the Bulls can simply revert to a tactical kicking plan. Few players can match Du Preez and Morné Steyn in such a duel.