Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - The Vodacom Bulls were dealt a major setback when it emerged that Springbok prop Gurthro Steenkamp has fractured a bone in his arm and will be out of action for between 6-12 weeks.
Steenkamp, South Africa’s player of the year in 2010, was under the watchful medical eye of the Bulls doctor Org Strauss this week initially for an ankle strain, sustained in this past weekend’s clash against the Stormers.
But pain in his arm and a further scan revealed a fracture in the lower arm – the same one he broke late last year that caused him to miss the Springbok tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The injury puts the Bulls in a bind, as they leave on their overseas tour next week minus one of their most experienced props, and had team officials scrambling on Monday for a possible replacement.
The Bulls are likely to take their incumbent tighthead Werner Kruger and his back-up Rossouw de Klerk, but with injuries to Frik Kirsten, Dean Greyling remains the only loosehead in the Super Rugby squad.
The team had requested former Bull Jaco Engels as a back-up, but this was refused by his current team, the Southern Kings and they still have not named a back-up replacement.
Steenkamp’s injury is a blow because he was one of the Bulls players in form as they struggle through an early season slump.
Good news however came on the back of Steenkamp’s injury as it seems fullback Zane Kirchner is set to recover from a shoulder injury and take his place when the team is named on Wednesday.
There is still concern over the injuries to Jaco Pretorius and Fourie du Preez, but both will be assessed on Wednesday morning before the team is named.
The only other expected change is a straight swop between Chiliboy Ralepelle and Gary Botha as they continue to rotate this season.