Bulls play the waiting game … again




Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer is again playing a waiting game with his star fly-half, Derick Hougaard, ahead of the all-South African Super 14 derby against the Cheetahs in Pretoria on Saturday.

Hougaard, who pulled out before the 17-3 opening round loss o the Sharks in Durban last week, remained on the doubtful list on Wednesday as he recuperates from the thigh injury that has been troubling him.

However, the fly-half was bracketed at No.10 with Morn’ Steyn when Meyer revealed his team, to face the Cheetahs, on Wednesday.

With Hougaard’s prospect having improved to about 50-50, Meyer decided to wait another day or two before making a final call.

Last week he made that call the day before the match.

Bulls team doctor Tommie Smook said Hougaard was able to run at full speed and had no discomfort during his kicking practice either – which is a key aspect for the fly-half.

Smook also was optimistic that Bryan Habana would be fit, although the Springbok wing was unable to train for a second consecutive day because of a rib injury. Habana was also named in the team for Saturday’s encounter with the Cheetahs.

Added to the improved prospects for Hougaard and Habana, the Bulls received news that hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle and flanker Hilton Lobberts both had passed fitness tests and could be considered for the match against the Cheetahs.

Lobberts was used as an impact player against the Sharks in Durban last weekend, but Ralepelle was at home, nursing a knee injury.

Both were named on the bench.

With the exception of fly-half, where there is doubt, the starting XV shows no changes from that which face the Sharks last week.

But on the bench Ralepelle replaces Derick Kuun as back-up at hooker, while Adriaan Fondse comes onto the bench in place of Francois van Schouwenburg.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter is again on standby to come onto the bench if Morn’ Steyn is required to start at fly-half.

Bulls: 15 Johan Roets, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard/Morn’ Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Anton Leonard, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg,
5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Danie Thiart, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Wessel Roux
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Adriaan Fondse, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Nicholas Eyre, 21 Morn’ Steyn/Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 Marius Delport

Date: Saturday, 10 February
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Touch judges: Phillip Bosch (South Africa), Pro Legoete (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

365 Digital

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