Bulls back in SA as URC final prep should be 'relaxed'

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David Kriel (Gallo Images)
David Kriel (Gallo Images)
Gallo Images
  • The Bulls will have a short turnaround from their heroics in Ireland before taking on the Stormers in the URC final this weekend.
  • Despite the logistical "challenges", the Bulls aren't unduly fussed and are expected to have a "relaxed" week of training. 
  • Bulls mentor Jake White isn't expected to have too many selection issues, with just David Kriel's fitness a clear concern. 

A relaxed week of training is in store for the Bulls after the Stormers' last-gasp march towards hosting Saturday night's United Rugby Championship (URC) final meant the men from Loftus had to hurriedly confirm their travel plans.

Given that their semi-final against Leinster - memorably won 27-26 last Friday night - took place almost 24 hours before the Capetonians' tussle with Ulster, Jake White and his troops were in limbo as to whether they had to stay in Ireland or return to South Africa.

The Stormers' triumph meant the latter scenario was confirmed, and on Monday afternoon, the Bulls had arrived back in the country. 

No one in Hatfield, however, is complaining as such logistical hurdles were expected and planned for anyway. 

READ | Stormers v Bulls: SA braces for dream final, Cape Town set for 'something special'

While the relatively late arrival means the first day of the week is a write-off, it's unlikely that the Bulls would've done much training on Monday anyway.

"To be honest, a finals week is pretty relaxed. There's not much coaching you can do at this stage of the campaign anyway. It's really about managing the bodies and being refreshed and ready," a Bulls source told Sport24.

"The travel plans have been a challenge, but that's a reality. I think all of us here are really excited to be playing in the final on home soil."

Meanwhile, White is expected to have most of his players available for the showdown at the Cape Town Stadium.

David Kriel is in doubt after going off with a knock to the head in the 36th minute of the Leinster meeting after coming off worst in tackling Ireland stalwart Robbie Henshaw.

"He got a bang, and I don't think he passed his Head Injury Assessment (HIA). So, hopefully he will be fine. That's the one nice thing about playing on a Friday - you get more time to prepare for the other game," White had said after the Leinster triumph.

Yet if Kriel didn't pass his HIA, his return-to-play protocol is seven days, firmly putting him in a race against time to be ready.

White's starting line-up shouldn't be fundamentally altered, but it will be interesting to see how his bench will look.

Will veterans like Bismarck du Plessis, Lionel Mapoe and Lizo Gqoboka be enlisted, or will they be sent for Currie Cup duty to stiffen up the defence of their local title in the semi-final against Griquas?  

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