Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Pretoria - The Bulls will be without three of their regulars when they take on the Stormers in their only pre-season match in Polokwane on Saturday, February 1.GALLERY: 2014 SA Super Rugby kits
According to the supersport.com website
, the Bulls will be missing Springbok Arno Botha, prop Morne Mellett and lock David Bulbring for the game, after the medical team decided to withdraw them from the clash ahead of a long and tough season that lies ahead.
All three should be fit and ready for the opening clash of the Vodacom Super Rugby season on Saturday, February 15 against the Sharks in Durban (kick-off at 19:10), but the medical team has decided to reduce their workload somewhat so that they can recover from their injuries properly.
Botha injured himself in the Springboks’ victory over Italy in June and has struggled to recover, while Mellett (neck/back) and Bulbring (shoulder) are withdrawn currently from training to ensure they continue their recovery well.
Coach Frans Ludeke said that at this stage, he should have a 100% fit squad to choose from for the opening Super Rugby fixture.
The Bulls lost a number of top players after losing in the semi-finals of last year’s competition, but will get the likes of captain Pierre Spies, Botha, flank Deon Stegmann, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and flyhalf Louis Fouche back after all were on the injured list for the Currie Cup season.
In addition to this, the Bulls have recruited Piet van Zyl from the Cheetahs and still have Boks JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson, Jan Serfontein, Akona Ndungane and Flip van der Merwe to call on.
Add to this the impending return of Victor Matfield to the side after a two-year absence and barring injuries, the Bulls should be able to put a strong starting XV on the field for the start of the season.