Injured Vermeulen to sit out clash against Griquas
CAPE TOWN - Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen has been ruled out of Saturday’s Super Rugby Unlocked clash against Griquas, but another Springbok World Cup winner in Trevor Nyakane will start at Loftus Versfeld.
Bulls director of rugby Jake White said during an online press conference on Thursday afternoon that the Bok No 8 took a blow to his leg during the Springbok Showdown game at Newlands last week.
Flank Arno Botha will take over the captaincy, while former Blitzbok star Tim Agaba will pack down at No 8, with White explaining that another Test loose forward in Nizaam Carr was also unavailable due to a knee niggle.
“Duane just got a bang on the leg last week in the game between Green and Gold. He would’ve been fine to play (if it had to be a final), but we just think we’ve got four or five weeks in a row now, and we just can’t afford to push him through. So I said to him at the end of the day, it’s probably a blessing that we can give other guys an opportunity,” White said.
“Kurt-lee Arendse (who scored two thrilling tries in the SuperFan clash against the Sharks) got injured as well. He’s got something like a little contusion on his quad, and for him as an athlete, it is a hell of a risk because we obviously want him to run a lot.
“Again, a bit like Duane, he will probably be ready next week. We just didn’t want to risk it now as we need to play for five consecutive weeks.”
Nyakane had to sit out of the Bok Showdown after being in close contact with Oupa Mohoje, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, which saw the tighthead prop remain in Cape Town until this week.
While White admits that it is a bit of a worry that Nyakane did not train with the Bulls this week, he feels that the 31-year-old will be ready for action on Saturday.
“He’s been training – he obviously got the programme from the conditioning coach, and he’s been sticking to that. That’s what happens when you lie on a double bed and watch Netflix – you get Covid! So he must now go and make sure that he doesn’t lie next to people on a bed,” said the former Bok coach.
“It is a bit of a (worry that he hasn’t trained with the Bulls), and you obviously want him here. But he is a Springbok and he’s important to us. He knows how we play and has been with us literally every session other than the last two weeks.
“It’s not ideal, but he is a Springbok and a World Cup winner. We will start him and see how he feels, and if he feels any fatigue, we can take him off and put on the reserve.”
Young hooker Schalk Erasmus has undergone surgery on his ankle, and will be out for at least six weeks.
Meanwhile, flyhalf George Whitehead will lead Griquas at Loftus Versfeld, with wing Daniel Kasende making his competitive debut.
Teams For Loftus Versfeld
Bulls: 15 Gio Aplon 14 Travis Ismaiel 13 Stedman Gans 12 Cornal Hendricks 11 David Kriel 10 Morné Steyn 9 Ivan van Zyl 8 Tim Agaba 7 Arno Botha (captain), 6 Marco van Staden 5 Ruan Nortje 4 Jason Jenkins 3 Trevor Nyakane 2 Corniel Els 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Bench: 16 Johan Grobbelaar 17 Lizo Gqoboka 18 Mornay Smith 19 Sintu Manjezi 20 Elrigh Louw 21 Embrose Papier 22 Chris Smith 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren.
Non-playing subs: 24 Jan Uys 25 Duane Vermeulen, 26 Jade Stighling.
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volminck 14 Daniel Kasende 13 Haarlon Klaasen 12 André Swarts 11 James Verity-Amm 10 George Whitehead (captain) 9 Zak Burger 8 Niell Jordaan 7 Stefan Willemse 6 Carl Els 5 Victor Sekekete 4 Ian Groenewald 3 John-Roy Jenkinson 2 HJ Luus 1 Mox Mxoli.
Bench (from): 16 Alandré van Rooyen 17 Bandisa Ndlovu 18 Madot Mabokela 19 Adré Smith 20 Zandre Jordaan 21 Gideon van der Merwe 22 Ashlon Davids 23 Berton Klaasen 24 Mzwanele Zito 25 Johan Momsen 26 Bjorn Basson.