Pretoria – The dark clouds did not hang over Loftus Versfeld for very long before Zane Kirchner delivered the silver lining with a broad smile.
The Springbok fullback injured his ribs against the Pumas on Saturday, but was able to tell his team-mates on Monday that the injury would not sideline him for several weeks as was initially feared.
In fact, Kirchner may play in the Bulls’ opening Super Rugby game against the Lions.
“It was not as bad as we had feared,” said Bulls team doctor Org Strauss.
“Zane did not tear cartilage and he should not be out for more than two weeks. It depends how he responds to treatment.”
This means that Kirchner, like Francois Hougaard and Jaco Pretorius, are in a battle against time to run out at Coca-Cola Park.
Fortunately for coach Frans Ludeke he has a range of options.
New acquisition Bjorn Basson and wing Gerhard van den Heever are both comfortable at fullback.
However, the best choice will probably be veteran Jaco van der Westhuyzen. He replaced Kirchner shortly after the start of the second half against the Pumas and performed well.
Ludeke had to defend his selection of Van der Westhuyzen on the wing last year, but he won’t have many critics for picking the 33-year-old former Bok as a fullback.
Van der Westhuyzen is super fit and still has all the skills to play fullback in spite of losing some pace.
The Bulls will train for the last time this week on Tuesday morning, after which the team will only get back together on Monday.