PRETORIA - The Bulls hellish start to Super Rugby took another turn for the worst on Monday with news that prop John Roy Jenkinson will be returning home from New Zealand after sustaining a hamstring injury in Saturday’s loss against the Blues.
Jenkinson who has suffered a grade two hamstring tear made his Super Rugby debut for the Bulls in the loss against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday after making the trek up from Stellenbosch to the capital last year where he had starred for Maties in the Varsity Cup in the past two years.
Conrad van Vuuren is already on his way to New Zealand to join the beleaguered Bulls side ahead of their encounter against the Chiefs in Hamilton which will be followed by a trip to Tokyo where they will face the Sunwolves.
While Van Vuuren is not likely to get any game time this week with Jacobie Adriaanse the logical prop option on tour, Van Vuuren might be called into action in Asia with Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane due for his mandatory rest.
Nyakane came in for special mention by Bulls coach Nollis Marais for his exceptional scrumming effort against the Blues and there will be pressure on Marais to continue with Nyakane’s progress after converting from loosehead to tighthead prop this year.
The Bulls have also suffered another injury scare with former Junior Springbok captain and number eight Hanro Liebenberg suffering a pectoral muscle injury which could rule him out of the clash against the Chiefs.
Bulls doctor Herman Rossouw could not confirm if Liebenberg would be available or not and said that it would depend on his response to treatment.
“Hanro injured a pectoral muscle and we need to see how it is responding to treatment in the next day or two before we can make a call on his continued involvement on the tour,” Rossouw said on Monday.
Liebenberg’s possible unavailability could put Marais’ plans into a tail spin with his options at number eight being Arno Botha who is still struggling with match fitness after returning from injury two weeks ago and Nic de Jager who has been conspicuous in his absence in the games he has played so far this season.
The Bulls are now in a desperate position and don’t need any further setbacks after losing three of their four matches and Marais will be under more pressure to make the right selections to get his team the positive result they so need to resuscitate their ailing campaign.
Aside from the possible changes brought on by injury, Marais will need to have a look at scrumhalf as well where both Piet van Zyl and Rudy Paige have not been convincing but Paige has looked the better of the two Springbok halfbacks.