Bulls get double injury boost
Pretoria - The Bulls will receive a double boost when they return from their bye next week with the return of two of their key players for the rest of the competition.
Intriguingly return may not be the right word for one of them, but rather "arrival" - as former Free State prop Marcel van der Merwe will finally get a chance to prove his worth for his new province.
According to the supersport.com website, Van der Merwe, a strong, big ball-handler who is very mobile across the field, was recruited last year from the Cheetahs to join the Bulls.
But shortly before he was meant to make the move from Pretoria, Van der Merwe tore cruciate ligaments in his knee during the Cheetahs promotion-relegation match against the Kings, ruling him out for six months.
Team doctor Org Strauss pronounced Van der Merwe fit and ready “to train at full pace” on Monday, and it is clear he will be able to be selected when the Bulls return for their next game against the Highlanders next week.
But things have complicated a bit, as the Vodacom Cup team’s shock last minute loss to the EP Kings on Saturday has meant there is no proper senior competition which Van der Merwe can find his way back unless he returns to club rugby.
This isn’t likely to happen and the young prop will find it hard to break into the Bulls setup now, especially after the scrumming performance of the Bulls in the past week.
The other key player to return is Zane Kirchner, Bok fullback who will finally be over the broken finger he had operated on and will be eligible for selection again.
Kirchner has sat out for the past five weeks and will be raring to go, although it must be said Jurgen Visser has done a sterling job in his absence.
The news is not that good for the other injured players with lock Paul Willemse (11 weeks, knee), midfielder Francois Venter (groin, 5 weeks) and lock Cornel Hess (knee, 6 months) needing long periods of rehab before they can return to the field.