Springbok flanker Wikus van Heerden has torn cartilage in one of his knees and will not play for the Bulls in their last Super 14 match of the season on Saturday.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that Van Heerden is the second Bulls player to be ruled out of the match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Flyhalf Derick Hougaard has also had his Super 14 season cut short by a week. He has an abscess on a muscle near his buttocks.
Van Heerden, who was injured in last week’s match against the Brumbies, will have to undergo minor surgery.
Bulls team doctor Tommie Smook said on Tuesday the swelling around Van Heerden’s knee had gone down but a scan had shown a small tear in the cartilage.
“This means we’ll have to clean the knee,” he said.
Van Heerden, the Bulls’ vice-captain, will be replaced in the starting lineup by Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg.
Promising young Dewald Potgieter, who last played Super 14 rugby on the team’s tour of Australasia, is expected to take Wannenburg’s place on the bench.
Potgieter said on Tuesday he had completely recovered from the injury that had cut his tour short.
Hougaard’s problem puts Bulls coach Frans Ludeke in a spot.
Burton Francis, who was on the bench after Hougaard had withdrawn from the match against the Brumbies, was one of two extra flyhalves who trained with the squad on Tuesday.
But Francis is the Blue Bulls’ flyhalf and a key player in the team to play the Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup final in Pretoria on Friday night.
Ludeke will think twice about withdrawing him from the final and selecting him as one of the substitutes for Saturday.
However, the coach has another card to play. He had an even younger flyhalf, Francois Brummer, train with the squad and may take him to Bloemfontein.Tweet