Jesse Kriel of the Bulls is tackled by Cobus Wiese of the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

They suffered a bloodied nose on the field, and now the Bulls are counting the costs off it following the 24-23 defeat to the Stormers at Newlands.

Star centre Jesse Kriel, who left the field in the second half, has sustained a torn ligament in his ankle that will keep him on the sidelines for between six to eight weeks, according to Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw.

Kriel is now set to miss out on at least the following matches – the Waratahs (home), Crusaders (home), Rebels (away), Brumbies (away), Blues (away) and the Highlanders (away).

The best-case scenario for the Springbok centre would be to return on 15 June against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld, which would be the last league match before the quarter-finals.

By then, the Bulls would know whether they are still in with a chance of making the playoffs, but the absence of Kriel is especially crucial for the tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The injury blow comes at just the wrong time for Kriel, who is fighting it out with the in-form Sharks star Lukhanyo Am for the Springbok outside centre berth ahead of the World Cup.

The backline crisis doesn’t end there for the Pretoria outfit, with wing Jade Stighling and utility back Divan Rossouw (both concussion) also out for this week.

There was some good news for coach Pote Human, as inside centre Burger Odendaal will be ready to face the Waratahs at Loftus on Saturday (3.05pm kickoff) after seeing a specialist for an eye injury.

Odendaal will have a new midfield partner, with either Dylan Sage or Johnny Kotze – who started at wing against the Stormers – coming in at No 13.


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