Springbok wing Jamba Ulengo is no longer a Bulls player, and could be heading back to Bloemfontein to join the Cheetahs.
The former Springbok Sevens star was a noticeable omission from the Bulls Super Rugby training squad that was released on Monday, and did not report for testing at Loftus Versfeld along with the other players.
The 28-year-old Ulengo who has spent much of his time at Loftus on the sidelines due to knee injuries, has seemingly fallen out of favour with the powers that be after the departure of John Mitchell two months ago.
The Free State-born giant has been replaced by former Springbok wing Cornel Hendricks, who was recently signed by the three-time Super Rugby champions.
A proven try-scorer with nine Super Rugby and 25 Currie Cup tries for the Bulls since arriving at Loftus four years ago, Ulengo had overcome his knee problems after consulting with world-leading Swiss-based physician, Professor Hakan Alfredson, earlier this year.
He was set to rekindle the devastating back-three combination with fellow Springboks Warrick Gelant and Travis Ismaiel in next year’s Super Rugby.
However, Ulengo is not the only missing link in the training squad for next season.
There is still no word on who will be replacing Mitchell as the team’s head coach.
Speculation is rife that Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will serve in an advisory capacity, with incumbent Currie Cup coach Pote Human sharing the assistant role with former Bulls and Springbok captain Victor Matfield.
While the Bulls management remain tight-lipped on their next head coach, they have named a formidable training squad that includes the names of new acquisitions in Duane Vermeulen, Cornal Hendricks and Rosko Specman.
Other new faces are Dylan Sage, Paul Schoeman, Junior Springbok Muller Uys and young prop Kgetho Madot Mabokela.
Unattached Springbok hooker Schalk Brits has not been included, but negotiations to acquire his services for next year’s Super Rugby are at an advanced stage, the Bulls revealed on Monday.
The Bulls also stated that loose forward Nick de Jager has been loaned out to Japanese outfit Toyota Shoki, while hooker Jaco Visagie will spend a short stint with English club Gloucester.
Both players are set to return in January, along with Hanro Liebenberg, André Warner and Hendré Stassen, who have been loaned out to French team Stade Francais.
Bulls Super Rugby Training Squad
Forwards: Duane Vermeulen, Tim Agaba, Muller Uys, Hanro Liebenberg, Jannes Kirsten, Thembelani Bholi, Carel du Preez, Roelof Smit, Nick de Jager, Ruan Steenkamp, Marco van Staden, Paul Schoeman, Jano Venter, Jason Jenkins, Hendré Stassen, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane, Lizo Gqoboka, Matthys Basson, Nqoba Mxoli, Simphiwe Matanzima, Madot Mabokela, Conraad van Vuuren, Frans van Wyk, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jaco Visagie, Edgar Marutlulle, Johan Grobbelaar.
Backs: Warrick Gelant, Divan Rossouw, Travis Ismaiel, Duncan Matthews, Cornal Hendricks, Jade Stighling, Rosko Specman, Jesse Kriel, Dylan Sage, Johnny Kotze, Stedman Gans, Burger Odendaal, JT Jackson, Franco Naudé, Handré Pollard, Manie Libbok, Marnitz Boshoff, Ivan van Zyl, Embrose Papier, André Warner, Theo Maree.@Vata_Ngobeni