Bulls face Lock problems



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It is ironic, but the Bulls – perennial producers of the best locks in South Africa – could have an early-season problem with their depth in this position.

The injuries to World Cup stars Bakkies Botha and lock-cum-loose forward Danie Rossouw are unlikely to keep them out of the first Super 14 matches, but could hamper the Bulls’ preparation in the build-up to the competition’s kick-off on the weekend of February 16.

Botha, according to the Bulls website, has not fully recovered from an ankle injury sustained on the UK tour to England and Wales.

Rossouw is still carrying the aftermath of his neck injury that he played with in the World Cup.

This adds to the Bulls woes after losing three top locks in last year’s Bulls captain Victor Matfield, the experienced Francois van Schouwenburg and Adriaan Fondse, who have all three left the franchise.

Botha, whose injury seems the more serious, will be seeing a specialist next week.

He told the website he is able to swim and do some cycling on a stationary bike, but was not able to run when the squad assembled for their first training session of the season on Thursday. Rossouw trained with the group and completed the bleep-test without any problems.

There is also some uncertainty about World Cup winger Akona Ndungane’s shin injury and World Cup centre Wayne Julies will only know next week how serious his knee problem is. J

ulies had an operation following the Springboks’ end of the year tour. The recovery is apparently not what was hoped for, and there is talk that he could be out for the whole of the Super 14 competition.

However, the full extent of the Bulls’ injury situation will only be known after Monday, when team doctor Tommy Smook joins the squad.

* Meanwhile it has been confirmed the Bulls will play two warm-up matches before their first Super 14 match against the Stormers at Newlands on February 16.

Their first will be against Boland Cavaliers in Wellington on January 26, and the other is against the Lions in Windhoek on February 2. The Bulls are also trying to set up two matches between their second side and the Lions’ second stringers on January 24 and 31.

Sapa – Super14.com

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