Pretoria - Springbok scrumhalf Rudy Paige has been elevated to the vice-captaincy of the team since news of Handre Pollard’s injury broke, SuperSport.com reports.
Paige, who was part of the Springbok squad at the Rugby World Cup and who won his two Test caps against Argentina and the USA, will take over the important role in supporting season captain Adriaan Strauss in the Super Rugby championship which starts next month.
Pollard was ruled out of the start of the Super Rugby series after aggravating a shoulder injury in his recent stint in Japan and while he will be assessed again after a month’s rehabilitation, the worry is that he is likely to be out for a longer period.
While Francois Brummer will stand in for Pollard at flyhalf, Paige is set to take over the vice-captaincy of a very young and inexperienced backline as they face some of the toughest line-ups in world rugby.
With the vice-captaincy normally going to a senior backline member, Paige’s chirpy personality and his popularity among his team-mates makes him an almost automatic choice, especially with the back-three likely to be playing in their first Super Rugby tournament and none of the midfield positions being bolted down by any particular player.
Paige will have some competition for the halfback position from Piet van Zyl, but the former Lions player has made the position his own with a number of good performances in last year’s competition and will head into this season firmly in charge of the halfback position.
The Bulls will put the first pieces of their season in place with a team-building tour to Zimbabwe that starts this weekend.
Apart from the pre-season outing against the Cheetahs on January 31, the Bulls will also have a team-building weekend in Victoria Falls this coming weekend before heading to Harare to prepare for the game.
Their only other pre-season match will be against the Emirates Lions in Polokwane on February 6.
The Bulls are set to name the squad for the tour later this week.