Blue Bulls get Currie Cup injury boost

Apart from the normal bruises and one broken bone, the Blue Bulls emerged from their last Currie Cup match relatively unscathed, and are even expecting a few Springbok reinforcements for Saturday’s encounter with Western Province at Loftus Versfeld.

Fears that the Bulls could be without at least five of their star performers were laid to rest as team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday that the only player who will definitely miss the match is flank Juandre Kruger.

Kruger, who usually plies his trade in the second-row, broke his wrist in the opening minutes of his side’s 39-26 victory over the Leopards in Potchefstroom and will only be available for selection if the Bulls make it to the final.

Strauss was pleased to report that the injuries lock Fudge Mabeta (neck), wing Jaco van der Westhuyzen (knee) and prop Werner Kruger (ankle) sustained were not as serious as initially thought. They should all be fit for the North v South derby.

A final call had yet to be made on the fitness of skipper Gary Botha, who looked to be in agonising pain when he left the field with an ankle injury.

“He is responding well to treatment and there is a chance that he will be available for this weekend’s match, but it is too early to make that call,” Strauss said of Botha’s situation.

Should he not be ready for the traditionally tough contest – which will be pivotal, determining which of the two sides will book a home semifinal – Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle should move up from the bench with fellow Bok Bandise Maku coming in as the replacement hooker.

Strauss added there was also a possibility that Dewald Potgieter would be up for selection after a knee injury kept him out of action for four weeks. Potgieter’s return would be a major boost for the defending champions who have been struggling at breakdowns this season.

Losing world-class fetcher Deon Stegmann was also a huge setback and Strauss confirmed the openside-flanker would have to wait another week before he could play. “I think we will give Deon more time to recover from the hamstring injury that has kept him out for most of the season,” said Strauss.

Springbok loosehead Gurthro Steenkamp was also training with the team on Monday and may start ahead of Dean Greyling in the front row.

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