Pretoria – The Bulls will probably have to play the Cheetahs and Waratahs in the next two rounds of Super Rugby without their main playmaker.
Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez injured a knee in the Bulls’ excellent 32-23 win over the Sharks and is expected to be sidelined for two weeks.
Bulls team doctor Org Strauss said that Du Preez had probably injured medial ligaments and he will go for a scan on Monday to determine how serious it is.
Du Preez already suffered the injury in the first half, but completed the game and therefore supporters will be hopeful that it’s not too serious.
“It’s not really going to help us to speculate if we’re not 100% sure,” said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
“The best will be to wait until after the examination because then one can make an informed decision. But the fact that he was able to complete the game suggests the damage could not have been too bad.”
But the coach preferred to discuss his team’s excellent performance against the Sharks rather than the injury to his star player.
“This really was a terrific win. We wanted to get certain things right on the field and that is exactly what the team did. It was important for us to stay on the winning track and I think we did it with a good performance,” said Ludeke.
He believes his team was unlucky not to return from Durban with a bonus point.
“We left some tries out there, but ultimately the win is what is important.”
Bulls captain Victor Matfield also smiled broadly after the win.
“It was a very big win. We outsmarted them tactically. Morné (Steyn) and Fourie were again brilliant. We put their lineout under a lot of pressure, especially in the first half, and could win turnover ball there,” said Matfield.
In one of the incidents to which Matfield was referring, Bismarck du Plessis’s throw-in found Steyn in a gap and the Sharks had to pay the price for their hooker’s wild throw-in.
Matfield believes the game had probably already been won by half-time.
“We retreated into our shells and probably became too defensive, but in the end it worked out well and they could not even get a bonus point, which was good for us.”
Matfield was also pleased with the Bulls’ defensive effort.
“The Sharks’ forwards are very dangerous when they start building momentum. We have to ensure that we stop them before that happens.”
A humble Matfield did not want to admit that the Bulls were “back”.
“We’re happy with where we are, but are starting from scratch again. The Cheetahs are red-hot and playing excellent rugby. There’s another tough game coming up on Saturday.”