LIVE

    Bulls in tight spot

    2013-06-28 12:45

    Pretoria - The Bulls will have to overcome injuries to key personnel and an imminent player exodus if they want to win their fourth Super Rugby crown.

    The June international window has been particularly brutal to the Pretoria-based side. Captain Pierre Spies and breakthrough star Arno Botha were the biggest casualties from their Springbok duties, and will miss the rest of the season.

    In-form scrumhalf Jano Vermaak suffered a serious hamstring injury in the Boks’ first Test against Italy in Durban, but could still participate in the remainder of the Bulls' campaign.

    To add to their woes, Wynand Olivier and lock Juandre Kruger both leave the team for greener pastures after Saturday’s match against the Southern Kings in Pretoria.

    Ever the optimist, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said while the loss of Spies and Botha was a blow to their campaign, he had confidence in their replacements.

    “You never anticipate losing players for the rest of the season, despite niggling injuries, which are part of the game,” Ludeke said this week.

    “We always knew we needed depth in the competition to be competitive week in and week out.

    “We have confidence in the guys who will step in there against the Kings in a South African derby.”

    To demonstrate how the exodus of players would impact the Bulls, Ludeke named Dewald Potgieter, who joins the Yamaha Rugby Club in Japan after the Super Rugby season, as captain.

    The flank, who has captained the Blue Bulls at Currie Cup level before, said the departing players hoped to finish their tenures with the Bulls on a high note, with the southern hemisphere provincial title behind their names.

    “We are in a good position and there is a lot of expectancy on the Bulls. If we are in a position that we lose the plot it will be a shame,” Potgieter said.

    The Bulls occupy third place overall on the Super Rugby log and could secure a home semi-final, provided the results in their final three round-robin matches go their way.

    “This is the business end of the season and this is where the top sides will distinguish themselves from the rest,” Potgieter said.

    “We are not just fighting for a top-two spot. If we finish this competition as strongly as we ought to, we can be in a very good position at the end of the round robin stages.”

    The Kings will be looking to move up the log as they are second to last on the overall table and would like nothing more than to return to Port Elizabeth with a Bulls scalp in their luggage.

    The last time the two sides locked horns, the Bulls scored four tries to beat the Kings 34-0 in the Windy City.

    As is often the case in local derbies, the most meaningful battle will be fought among the loose forwards.

    “The battle for the gainline will be crucial and realistically the Kings can still achieve a lot, but we have enough men who can get over the advantage line,” Ludeke said.

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    108 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Most Read
    Commented
    /Sport

    Fixtures

    13 February 2015
    • Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels, Christchurch 08:35
    • Brumbies v Reds, Canberra 10:40
    • Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg 19:10
    14 February 2015
    • Blues v Chiefs, Albany 08:35
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 17:05
    • Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria 19:10
    15 February 2015
    • Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 07:05

    Results

    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.