SA teams line up for Super 14 friendlies

South Africa’s five Super 14 franchises have all arranged warm-up matches to prepare them for competition that starts on February 15, and the Stormers lead the way with their only pre-competition outing against the Boland Kavaliers on January 19.


And generally, with the exception of the Bulls, the injury position of all the sides is reasonably encouraging at this stage of the season.


The Bulls, defending the title they won in 2007, have confirmed their away fixtures against the Valke on January 24 and the Boland Kavaliers on January 26.


A match between the B-sides of the Bulls and the Lions has now also been finalised and will be played at Wits University on January 31.


Their preliminary A-sides of these two franchises clash in Windhoek on Saturday, February 2.

 

The Bulls this week had the fears confirmed that centre Wayne Julies will be out for the duration of the Super 14 and beyond after a knee operation that will sideline him for up to six months.

The Bulls’ other major concerns are Bakkies Botha (ankle) and Gurthro Steenkamp (cut forearm). Pierre Spies has to undergo a series of blood tests but should be back in March, according to team doctor Tommy Smook, while Akona Ndungane’s shin injury is not regarded as serious.


The Cheetahs have two pre-Super 14 outings. The first is on January 25, when two sides from their squad will play in a tri-angular series of matches with the Free State Vodacom Cup squad also taking part. The Cheetahs round off their match-preparations with a match against the Sharks in Bloemfontein on February 1.


Coach Naka Drotske on Tuesday confirmed that his squad is fit for the season ahead, with the exception of Springbok fullback Bevin Fortuin whose hip injury is healing well.


The Lions have only a few minor niggles – which coach Eugene Eloff describes as “nothing to worry about” – and of course the foot injury their Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius sustained in the Springboks’ match against the British Barbarians last year.


He could be out for another 8-12 weeks after missing most of last season’s campaign because of injury.


The Sharks play the Lions in Durban on February 6 after their match against the Cheetahs the preceding weekend. Their main injury concern is prop Patrick Cilliers, who was injured against the Lions last year.


He should, however, be available for the early stages of the Super 14 after missing the start. Springbok prop Deon Carstens has recovered well and he and AJ Venter should be available for selection when the competition starts.


The Stormers have no injuries of major concern.


Springbok Conrad Jantjes’ arm is still in plaster, but he will be ready for action, according to team manager Chippy Solomons. Springbok prop Eddie Andrews is also back in training.


The five South African franchises’ warm-up matches are:


January 19: Boland Kavaliers v Stormers (Wellington)
January 24: Valke v Bulls (Brakpan)
January 25: Cheetahs A and B, Vodacom Cup side in triangular
January 26: Boland v Bulls (Wellington)
January 31: Lions B v Bulls B (Wits University)
February 1: Cheetahs v Sharks
February 2: Bulls v Lions (Windhoek)
February 6: Sharks v Lions (Durban).

 

 

SAPA – Super14.com  

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