The Vodacom Bulls will be without three of their regulars when they take on the DHL Stormers in their only pre-season match in Polokwane on 1 February.
The Bulls will be missing the likes of Springbok Arno Botha, prop Morne Mellett and lock David Bulbring for the game, after the medical team decided to withdraw them from the clash ahead of a long and tough season that lies ahead.
All three should be fit and ready for the opening clash of the Vodacom Super Rugby season on February 14 against the Sharks, but the medical team has decided to reduce their workload somewhat so that they can recover from their injuries properly.
Arno Botha injured himself in the Springboks’ victory over Italy in June and has struggled to recover, while Mellett (neck / back) and Bulbring (shoulder) are withdrawn currently from training to ensure they continue their recovery as scheduled.
Coach Frans Ludeke said that at this stage, he should have a 100% fit squad to choose from for the opening Super Rugby fixture.
The Bulls lost a number of top players after losing in the semifinals of last year’s competition, but will get the likes of captain Pierre Spies, Botha, flank Deon Stegmann, halfback Francois Hougaard and flyhalf Louis Fouche back after all were on the injured list for the Currie Cup season.
In addition to this, the Bulls have recruited Piet van Zyl from the Cheetahs and still have Boks JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson, Jan Serfontein, Akona Ndungane and Flip van der Merwe to call on.
Add to this the impending return of Victor Matfield to the side after a two year absence and barring injuries, the Bulls should be able to put a strong starting XV on the field for the start of the season.