Bulls’ big guns set to return for Loftus clash

2011-06-14 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The Bulls are set to bring back two of their big guns — Springboks Bakkies Botha and Fourie du Preez — to face the Sharks in their final Super Rugby league match at Loftus on Saturday.

Both players are expected to be declared fit and ready for action at today’s team practice and it will allow Botha, who missed the game in Cape Town with a knee injury, to get his 100th cap at his home ground in front of a partisan crowd.

Du Preez, who was injured four weeks ago against the Sharks and suffered a grade-two medial ligament tear, has recovered so well that he technically could have played in Cape Town, but Bulls management decided not to use him.

The scrumhalf will be keen to return to action and help his team secure a place in the Super Rugby Finals Series, and team doctor Org Strauss is more than confident that he will be fit and ready for action this week.

Which leaves the Bulls with an interesting poser. Do they bring Du Preez back for the game or leave Saturday’s man-of-the-match, Francois Hougaard, at halfback?

Scorer of the only try in the Newlands humdinger, Hougaard certainly left his mark on the game and would be more than able to play if Du Preez were given another week off.

But with Du Preez champing at the bit to get back on to the field, it is likely that Hougaard will find himself playing on the wing again for the clash.

Still, the Bulls will stick by their belief that having the young Bok in the starting ranks is an ultimate necessity, especially as he has that game-breaking ability they need so desperately as they fight to stay in the competition.

Botha will also, once declared fit, in all likelihood return to the lock position, leaving Danie Rossouw to fight for a spot with Dewald Potgieter on the side of the scrum, or be utilised as an impact player off the bench.

The Bulls were happy to report no injuries from their weekend encounter and they should be able to field as close to a full-strength side for the Sharks clash as they can.

Only Springbok and player of the year Gurthro Steenkamp is missing as he continues his rehabilitation for a broken arm.

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