JOHANNESBURG - The Bulls and Springbok sevens team have suffered a major injury blow with loose forward Tim Agaba having been ruled out of action for the remainder of the year after undergoing an operation for a torn bicep.
Agaba was operated on Monday morning in Pretoria to an injury which he sustained a week ago while playing for the Blue Bulls in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge against the Pumas in Nelspruit and Bulls team doctor, Herman Rossouw, confirmed that the hard running forward will be out for up to six months.
Agaba’s absence will be felt at the Bulls during the remainder of their Super Rugby campaign but more so by Neil Powell and his Blitzbokke outfit especially ahead of the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco in June.
An integral member of the Blitzbokke team that won the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the world championship side last season, Agaba was a certainty for the team’s title ambitions at the upcoming World Cup.
Injury and illness have prevented Agaba from playing any Super Rugby matches for the Bulls this year while his stint with the Blitzbokke earlier in the year for the tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton and for the Commonwealth Games would have contributed to him not featuring for the Loftus outfit.
Bulls coach John Mitchell admitted that losing Agaba is a setback to the team but more so to the player who the former All Black coach says must choose between the shorter format of the game or the 15-men version.
“It’s not nice to lose a teammate. He is probably somewhat compromised because he has tried to do two programmes. He certainly was in great condition for Sevens but I would have liked to have more time with Tim,” said Mitchell.
"At some point I think he is going to have to make a decision between fifteens and Sevens. But it is not nice to rupture his bicep tendon because that is an extended rehabilitation but that’s the game unfortunately."
Another Bulls loose forward Hanro Liebenberg is expected back on the field after the June break in the competition after undergoing a scope on a knee injury along with former Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff who also underwent a scope for a meniscus injury.
Red haired fireball Jannes Kirsten is also making steady progress from a nerve injury and is expected back in action at the end of May with Ruan Steenkamp also making a return after a long double injury recess to his pectoral muscle and knee and is already training with the team.
Further good news for Mitchell is flank Roelof Smit being cleared to play against the Stormers after recovering from a concussion in the game against the Melbourne Rebels resulting in him sitting out Saturday’s last gasp 29-28 defeat against the Highlanders at Loftus.