Pollard, Kriel unleashed on Chiefs

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:23
Large handre pollard bulls training 800

INJURY UPDATE: Springboks Handré Pollard and Jesse Kriel will both make their comebacks from injury in the Bulls' opening match of 2017.

The Bulls will face the two-time Super Rugby champion Chiefs in a pre-season match in Ballymore, Brisbane, on February 8. Three days later both teams will feature in Brisbane 10s.

However, it is at Ballymore where the prodigiously talented Pollard will make his long-awaited return after a year on the sidelines.

Pollard, who ruptured his knee ligaments in training in February last year, opted to also undergo corrective shoulder surgery.

However, at one stage thought he might never play again - after a serious infection in his shoulder, following the surgery, resulted in a suggestion that he might have to have his arm amputated.

The doctors, however, responded rapidly and Pollard is already back on the training field.

Kriel injured his lower leg in the opening match of the Springboks year-end tour - a 31-all draw with the Barbarians at Wembley.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said a number of players who have been sidelined for a long time are being "eased back" in training.

"Handré [Pollard] and Jesse [Kriel, lower leg] are looking good," Marais told rugby365.

"They are training already and they will feature in the warm-up game against the Chiefs [in Brisbane in February]."

The only players who are not available for the opening match of the season, against the Stormers in Cape Town on February 25, are Adriaan Strauss (back surgery- Arno Botha (shoulder surgery) and Jannes Kirsten (shoulder surgery).

The Bulls have made significant acquisitions for the 2017 season - Bok lock Lodewyk de Jager (from the Cheetahs), prop Jacobie Adriaanse (from Kings), prop  Conraad van Vuuren (from Free State Cheetahs), hooker Edgar Marutlulle (from Kings), loose forward Shaun Adendorff (from Boland Cavaliers), utility back Johnny Kôtze (from Stormers) and wing Sibahle Maxwane (from Western Province).

A substantial number of senior players have left the franchise - either moving abroad or being released domestically.

Those who won't feature this year include props Dean Greyling (to Oyonnax), Werner Kruger (to Scarlets) and Marcel van der Merwe (to Toulon), hookers Bandise Maku (retired) and Callie Visagie (released), locks Grant Hattingh (to Kubota Spears), Irné Herbst (to Kings), Nico Janse van Rensburg (to Montpellier) and Marvin Orie (to Lions), loose forwards Pieter Labuschagné (to Kubota Spears) and Deon Stegmann (to Honda Heat), utility back Dan Kriel (to Stormers), backs Bjorn Basson (released) and SP Marais (released).

By Jan de Koning
@kings365ed
@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
Munster v Toulouse 17h45 Limerick
Sun, 02 April 2017
Waratahs v Crusaders 06h05 Allianz Park
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Allianz Park
Clermont Auvergne v Toulon 15h15 Clermont-Ferrand
Mon, 03 April 2017
Maties v UJ 14h30 Stellenbosch
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 17h00 Pretoria
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Jaguares 5 4 0 1 18
Sharks 5 4 0 1 17
Kings 5 1 0 4 5