Bulls' Bok holds out hope

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 10:51
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Bulls Springbok Dewald Potgieter has not given up on the prospect of accompanying the team on their Australasian tour next week.

Bulls Springbok Dewald Potgieter has not given up on the prospect of accompanying the team on their Australasian tour next week.

It was revealed on Monday that the Bulls will have to make three injury-enforced changes for their Super Rugby encounter with the Western Force in Pretoria on Saturday.

The biggest blow has come in the form of an injury to the Bulls' Bok stalwart, Potgieter, who suffered a grade two medial ligament injury in the 25-17 win over the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld last Friday.

Bulls team doctor Org Strauss suggested that Potgieter will be sidelined for three to four weeks and will miss the team's overseas leg of the competition - with starts when they play the Blues in Auckland on Sunday, March 10.

However, Potgieter suggested he might recover in time for the four-match trip that will also see them take on the Crusaders (March 16), Reds (March 23) and Brumbies (March 30).

"Good news after the scan," Potgieter said on his official twitter page.

"The damage to the medial ligament isn't too bad, so with a bit of luck I'll be eligible in time 4 the tour next week."

The most likely replacements for Potgieter for this week's match are Boks Jacques Potgieter, who was withdrawn from the encounter with the Stormers with a groin strain, and Arno Botha - who came on as a replacement late in the first half.

* Other setbacks include JJ Engelbrecht (hip flexor, 10 day lay-off) and Bok flank Deon Stegmann (hamstring, 10 days).

Engelbrecht and Stegmann are also in doubt for the Australasian trip, but a call on their availability will be made later.

According to the Bulls doctor, Strauss, players like Werner Kruger (ankle) and Grant Hattingh (sick) will only train on Wednesday, but veteran wing Akona Ndungane and Jacques du Plessis will take the field at training on Monday.

Ndungane recovered from the ankle strain that ruled him out of the Stormers clash and SA Under-20 flank Du Plessis has recovered from an AC joint.

Wilhelm Steenkamp and Dean Greyling are on track to train with the team next week, after shoulder and foot injuries respectively that ruled them out of the encounter with the Stormers.

The two shining lights in the Blue Bulls pre-season win over the Free State this weekend, Jan Serfontein (quad) and Ulrich Beyers (ankle) will join the fray on Wednesday.

The one question mark still remains over Jacques Potgieter, who was withdrawn with a groin strain from the team to face the Stormers, but appears nowhere on the team injury list. Potgieter would be a perfect replacement for his namesake Dewald if fit, while Arno Botha would also come into the equation.

At centre, Francois Venter is likely to be the favourite to replace Engelbrecht, although Frans Ludeke also has the option of returning Lionel Mapoe to the midfield now that Ndungane is fit again. Jan Serfontein is also one whose name should come into play when midfield selections are made.

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26