JOHANNESBURG – It is as if the injury gods made sure there was a level of fairness in Saturday’s Jukskei derby, with both the Bulls and the Lions losing their captains for the crucial clash at Ellis Park.
The Bulls did not only lose their captain, but one of their sharpest lineout weapons, with skipper Lood de Jager being ruled out.
The Lions suffered a similar blow with Warren Whiteley injuring a pectoral muscle.
De Jager has played an instrumental part in the Bulls’ lineouts, where he does not only provide his team with a solid attacking advantage, but also pinches the odd ball on the opposition’s throw.
The Bulls will have to rely on the services of former Junior Springbok Eli Snyman, with Jason Jenkins providing some much needed stability and continuity.
Jenkins said that while they would miss De Jager’s presence, they were confident of filling the big man’s boots.
“It is a massive blow whether it is one week or four weeks, Lood obviously as the captain brings the leadership and a lot of experience,” Jenkins said.
“Especially in the lineouts, he is a massive asset and a massive loss in this case.
“Everyone was obviously on a high after the Stormers game, but I think we were just not good enough on the day (against the Jaguares).”
Their job has been made a tad easier with the news that Lions lock Marvin Orie has been ruled out of the clash.
Jenkins said although they would miss De Jager’s contesting prowess, it has been a team effort, and he believed they would be able to follow his example.
“The Lions have good depth and quality guys and they have Stephan Lewies back, while they still have a quality pack, so we are definitely not taking them lightly,” Jenkins said.
“Lood has been quality, but the contesting is all credit to the work we put in during the week in terms of our plan.
“We just have to go and execute, and I’m sure nothing much is going to change in terms of the quality of how we contest.”
Both sides will be looking to get back to winning ways after suffering losses in the second round after promising season openers the week before.
While much has been made of the forwards battle, Jenkins believed the early start could make for an exciting running game tomorrow at 3pm.
“There is nothing like the Jukskei derby. It is going to be massive with a 3pm start, and it should be nice running rugby, so we are really looking forward to it,” Jenkins said.@ockertde