Bulls hit by injury blow to hooker Maku

Bandise Maku (Gallo images)
Bandise Maku (Gallo images)

Pretoria - The Vodacom Bulls have received another setback, this time an injury to hooker Bandise Maku.

According to the supersport.com website, Maku didn't make the trip along with his team-mates to Zimbabwe for their pre-season tour and match against the Cheetahs over the weekend after he picked up an Achilles heel strain during the team's training sessions.

The Springbok hooker, who will fight it out with Callie Visagie as one of Bulls' captain Adriaan Strauss' deputies, is expected to be out of action for around four weeks, meaning he will be in a race against time to be fit for the first game of the season on February 27 when the Bulls travel to Newlands to take on the Stormers.

The setback, which comes only days after the news of flank Deon Stegmann and flyhalf Handre Pollard picking up injuries, is not the best for the Bulls, who already have a young squad and will be needing all the experience they can use.

Stegmann will undergo an operation on Monday to repair an ankle injury and is expected to be out for another eight weeks.

Pollard will be reassessed in three weeks time for a shoulder injury that may still need an operation, and depending on that diagnosis may well miss out on the Bulls first match against the Stormers. A decision will be taken then on how the Springbok flyhalf's injury should be handled.

Meanwhile, the team spent the first weekend of their Zimbabwe trip on a team-building exercise at Victoria Falls where, among other things, they did some river rafting on the Zambezi river.

The team have brought extra players along on the trip with an eye on the season, ahead of their first run out against the Cheetahs.

"We are taking a fairly big squad, as we want to involve a couple of younger players to our team culture and expose them to our patterns," Marais said.

"This is a great opportunity for us to really focus on our rugby objectives and I am keen to get started. The match against the Cheetahs next week will be a good opportunity for us to get the season started."

The group includes Springboks Bjorn Basson, Arno Botha, Jesse Kriel, Werner Kruger, Trevor Nyakane, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Jan Serfontein, Adriaan Strauss, Piet van Zyl and Marcel van der Merwe.

New recruits Lizo Gqoboka and Freddy Ngoza are also in the squad, while Jesse Kriel and Grant Hattingh have both returned from stints in Japan.

Bulls training squad:

Bjorn Basson, Arno Botha, Francois Brummer, Nic de Jager, Warrick Gelant, Lizo Gqoboka, Riekert Hattingh, Grant Hattingh, Chris Hefer, Irne Herbst, Travis Ismaiel, JT Jackson, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Jason Jenkins, Jannes Kirsten, Jesse Kriel, Dan Kriel, Werner Kruger, Lappies Labuschagne, Hanro Liebenberg, Kefentse Mahlo, Nqobisiizwe Mxoli, Freddy Ngoza, Trevor Nyakane, Burger Odendaal, Marvin Orie, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Divan Rossouw, Tian Schoeman, Pierre Schoeman, Jan Serfontein, Jade Stighling, RG Snyman, Adriaan Strauss, Dries Swanepoel, Jamba Ulengo, Callie Visagie, Jaco Visagie, Ivan van Zyl, Piet van Zyl, Marcel van der Merwe

Click to read the full article on supersport.com

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