Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer is 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 Tuesday as he recuperates from the thigh injury that has been troubling him.
However, with the No.10’s prospect having improved to about 50-50 by Tuesday, Meyer decided to wait another day or two before making a call.
Last week he made that call the day before the match.
Bulls team doctor Tommie Smook said on Tuesday that 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.
“It’s only a bruise but we will decide about him on Wednesday morning,” the doctor said.
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.