- The Bulls will have two influential Springboks absent for the Rainbow Cup opener against the Lions this weekend.
- Trevor Nyakane and Duane Vermeulen are both unavailable for selection.
- On a more positive note, various younger members of the side are close to making their respective returns.
The Bulls will commence their Rainbow Cup campaign with two high-profile Springboks missing for Saturday's meeting with the Lions at Loftus.
Trevor Nyakane, who's predictably become a key member of Jake White's pack, is nursing a rib injury that's keeping him out of action.
His absence means that the Bulls' tightheads might boast a distinctly young look - Mornay Smith and Jan-Hendrik Wessels are candidates - after Marcel van der Merwe was allowed to join French club La Rochelle as a so-called medical joker last week.
However, it's not expected that Nyakane will be sidelined for longer than the Jukskei derby.
Meanwhile, influential skipper Duane Vermeulen is only expected to be ready for action should the local franchises' overseas leg take place.
The Springbok No 8 has missed the start of the new season to have some cartilage removed from his knee.
"Duane, along with Gio Aplon and Travis Ismaiel, have started what we call unit training, but will not fall in with squad just yet," said Herman Rossouw, the Bulls' team doctor.
"We expect them to start participating in full training in the next two weeks."
Towering lock Walt Steenkamp, who became local rugby's first player to suffer the effects of long Covid, has received the green light from his cardiologist and will be in contention for selection within a few weeks.
Gifted winger Stravino Jacobs, one of the Bulls juniors who has grabbed his opportunities under White, has recovered from a fractured finger while Simphiwe Matanzima, who tore his Achilles tendon on the very first week of last year's return-to-training, is back.
He adds to the team's already impressive stock at loosehead.