Kirchner headache for Bulls
Pretoria – The Bulls may only know on Friday whether Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner will be able to play in their opening Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Lions at Coca-Cola Park.
Kirchner injured ribs in the Bulls’ warm-up game against the Pumas in Nelspruit two weeks ago and is in a race against time to be able to man the last outpost.
Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed that they would make a call on two other injured players – Jaco Pretorius and Francois Hougaard – by Wednesday.
“Zane trained with us for the entire pre-season and played in a game, so will be able to play if he does not experience discomfort. Jaco and Hougie (Hougaard) have not played for a while. If they can’t run with us by Wednesday, I don’t believe they will be able to play,” said Strauss.
He declared Flip van der Merwe fit for the match. He should start the match as substitute, with Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha set to continue their lock partnership.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is unlikely to risk either Pretorius or Hougaard and it is expected that Stephan Dippenaar will run out at centre and Ruan Snyman will be the substitute scrumhalf.
Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls Company’s Board’s inability to reach an agreement on who should coach the Vodacom Cup team certainly contributed to their unexpected 17-12 defeat to Namibia’s Welwitchias in Windhoek at the weekend.
The team travelled under the guidance of caretaker coach Denzil Frans, but did not meet expectations and poor preparation is definitely one of the reasons.
It is unacceptable that a coach is yet to be appointed – more than a month after the resignation of Nico Serfontein.
Bulls coaching co-ordinator Heyneke Meyer can be asked to take the reins, but it’s an open secret that he would like former Blue Bulls player Pote Human in the job.
Current assistant coaches Frans and Ricardo Loubscher are the other candidates.