Bakkies to stay with the Bulls


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Bulls and Springbok lock Bakkies Botha’s request to be released from his contract has been declined, and he will be available for the Bulls for the next four seasons.

Reports that Botha had applied to be released by the Bulls were confirmed by their commercial manager Ian Schwartz on Monday morning.

“We had no option but to decline his request,” Schwartz said. We have invested in him and his contract was last year renewed for a further five years. Releasing him would send a message to other players that contracts are not binding which in turn could conceivably lead to an exodus,.”

It has been reported that Botha will join his Springbok partner and Bulls captain Victor Matfield at Toulon. Hopes that the club would release Matfield to play Super 14 rugby have faded and the Bulls have accepted he is now lost to the franchise.

The news on Botha’s ankle injury is the chances are slim he will be in the side to play the Stormers in the Super 14 opener on Saturday.

But there was some good news for the Bulls. Danie Rossouw has recovered from his neck injury and with Wilhelm Steenkamp, the Bulls have a competent pairing to fill the massive gap left by Botha and Matfield.

Further good news is tighthead prop Rayno Gerber trained with the squad on Monday morning. “He should be available for the Stormers match,” Schwartz said.

Coach Frans Ludeke will only know later this week which of the injured players Akona Ndungane, Bryan Habana, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Pierre Spies will be able to play against the Stormers.

Ndungane has been struggling with a shin-injury for the last few weeks and Habana picked up a rib injury against the Lions.

Ralepelle is expected to start playing this week but because of the injury history to his knee absolutely no chances will be taken. Derick Ku’n will probably start at hooker with James van der Walt as his understudy.

Spies is still on medication and as long as this is the case, he will not be allowed to play. The results of his blood tests were expected on Friday but weren’t available.

Schwartz said a media release will be issued as soon as the Bulls have finality on the matter.

Sapa – Super14.com

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