JOHANNESBURG – The Bulls are not quite at 100 percent in terms of their preparations ahead of the start of the 2019 Super Rugby campaign but coach Pote Human expects his charges to catch up quickly over the next fortnight.
Human yesterday announced an impressive starting XV boasting eight Springboks for their warm-up match against the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday.
The Bulls mentor named Springbok stalwarts Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits in the team and hoped all the players would gel together over the next two pre-season matches.
“I’ll say at this stage we are at about 60 percent, after this weekend we have two weeks, but we will be ready come the 16th (of February),” Human said at the team announcement.
“We need to become a team as quickly as possible now because we now have two weeks before the (opening match against the) Stormers and that is why I am giving all the guys an opportunity this weekend. Luckily we have next week too, but I must say they are all professional players, and guys like Duane and Schalk fit in immediately.”
Duane Vermeulen in his first official Vodacom Bulls Jersey standing his ground on Loftus.— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) January 29, 2019
A sneak peek of the Vodacom Bulls campaign shoot last night
See Duane in action, Get your season ticket now at https://t.co/7NhaUvf2iQ and stand a chance to win an Isuzu D-max. pic.twitter.com/yb9R9nUWYc
Human has had his work cut out for him since he was announced as Bulls coach in December 2018, leaving him little room to manoeuvre in terms of preparing the squad.
To compound his problems, he had to wait for a host of migrant players to return from playing in Europe and Japan.
Human seemed to be adapting to the realities of the rugby migration but welcoming key personnel back in an injured state was a bitter pill to swallow.
“All of the Springboks that are available are playing, except for (lock) RG Snyman, who is having an operation today and will be out for eight weeks,” Human said.
“Jason Jenkins has a wedding this weekend so he is not available, but the rest who are available, are playing.”
The lock stocks were not quite as low as the lack of depth among the hookers, where the Bulls suffered a blow with the news that Jaco Visagie will be sidelined for up to six weeks after returning with an ankle injury after a loan spell with Gloucester.
“It is very difficult. I must say, I don’t sleep well at this stage,” admitted Human. “You want the best for the team but we must make the best of what we have at the moment,” the coach added.
“Jaco (Visagie) is out for six weeks and hopefully his rehab will go well, but it is a concern. If there is another injury we are very thin because then we have youngsters that will have to fill the role (at hooker).”@Ockertde