Canan Moodie blow as Bulls ponder on loose trio against Benetton

Sebastian de Klerk may replace the injured Canan Moodie for the Bulls’ URC quarter-final against Benetton. Photo: BackpagePix

Sebastian de Klerk may replace the injured Canan Moodie for the Bulls’ URC quarter-final against Benetton. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 7, 2024


Canan Moodie is out of the Bulls’ United Rugby Championship quarter-final against Benetton tomorrow (3.30pm kick-off) after an injury he picked up against the Sharks proved more serious than first believed.

Another Springbok, Marco van Staden, is also set to miss the knockout game against the stubborn Italian side.

Moodie played against the Sharks last week with a heavily strapped leg, and although he got through most of the match, he was heavily tackled towards the end of the game by Aphelele Fassi after having run almost the length of the field.

On Monday, Moodie fronted the media and he said he was “sore with bumps and bruises”, but he felt he would be okay for the weekend.

That has changed. In a social media video posted by the Bulls, Moodie said: “Unfortunately I won’t be able to play this weekend due to injury. But I want to encourage everyone to come out and help me support the boys.

“And hopefully we can pull this one through.”

— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) June 5, 2024

The Bulls have quality replacements in Sebastian de Klerk and Devon Williams, and coach Jake White will be confident that the Pretoria side can get past Benetton at Loftus Versfeld, and that Moodie can be welcomed back for the semi-final.

Van Staden was also injured against the Sharks, and White confirmed at the post-match media conference that the burly flank would miss the game against Benetton.

Sadly, Van Staden had only resumed playing after picking up an injury away to Leinster.

It will be interesting to see what the Bulls loose trio will look like, with the experienced Nizaam Carr, having come off the bench in the past few games, a real option at openside flank.

Another solution would be to bring in Mpilo Gumede at No 8, and shift Cameron Hanekom to No 6, where he has featured on a few occasions – with Carr, of course, a specialist No 8 as well.

“Unfortunately, at the back end of a competition it starts to get tougher and tougher,” White said. “It starts to get more and more physical as the margins get smaller. And it does come with the risk of losing a few guys.

“I would think that a guy like Marco won’t be available, but the others seem to be okay.

“Sometimes it seems like a minor bump but you do not know for sure. Later, you get back home and you get to the medical room and you find that a thing that (you) did not think too serious has flared up,” White explained.

— Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial_RSA) June 6, 2024

Meanwhile, Benetton fullback Rhyno Smith, formerly of the Cheetahs and the Sharks, believes the men from Treviso can produce a shock at Loftus.

“I grew up in South Africa and I will have many family members at the game,” he said.

“I have seen many matches in South Africa and playing at Loftus Versfeld will be special.

“As Benetton Rugby, we have never won in Pretoria and the first victory in South Africa came about a month ago against the Sharks. It will once again be an opportunity to achieve a historic goal.”

Benetton lost 56-35 to the Bulls on May 18, but Smith feels a knockout game introduces a different mentality.

And this is where the Italians feel they can shock the Bulls.

“The mentality is more focused on the basics: in these games, the fundamentals make the difference,” Smith said. “The team that seizes all the opportunities and puts the most points on the board will win it.

— Benetton Rugby 🦁 (@BenettonRugby) June 4, 2024

“The first time we didn’t do what we wanted to do at Loftus. We have to focus on the things we can control: our identity, the kicking game and tackling low.

“We didn’t do these things last game against the Bulls.

“However, it will be a match like the others this season. We must believe that we have what it takes to win the match. We have 80 minutes to leave everything on the pitch.”

A major factor for the Italians is the confidence reaped from an excellent 31-6 defeat of Edinburgh last week.