The Blue Bulls suffered a huge setback on Monday when Springbok loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp had to undergo surgery due to a fractured left hand.
Steenkamp turned in sterling performances in the Bulls’ last three matches. But now the earliest date on which he will be able to play will be 11 October, the day of the Currie Cup semifinal.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that Steenkamp fractured his hand at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night in the Currie Cup match against the Boland Cavaliers.
Besides Steenkamp, two other great stalwarts may not be available to play against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday – there is also serious concern about injuries sustained by winger Bryan Habana and lock Danie Rossouw.
This may well be a make or break clash for the Cheetahs with a view to the semifinals – it is imperative for them to win in order to keep Western Province at a safe distance.
Bulls physician Org Strauss was not very optimistic on Monday about Habana’s and Rossouw’s chances of playing.
“Danie’s chances aren’t good. Bryan’s are slightly better,” said Strauss.
John Mametsa, who did an outstanding job as a replacement for Habana against the Cavaliers, had a sore groin which also kept him from taking part in the training sessions, but Strauss is not concerned about that injury.
Fortunately there has also been some good news for the Bulls. Centre Wynand Olivier’s injury is something of the past. After a disappointing Super14 series, the level of Olivier’s game underwent a dramatic transformation and he is back to Bok star quality.
Under no illusion
Bulls skipper Victor Matfield said the team is under no illusions about the onslaught they can expect from the Cheetahs.
“Apart from the fact that a loss could jeopardise their place in the semifinals, matches between us and them have been very emotionally charged with a lot of pride at stake.
“They will give it all they’ve got to beat us, which is enough of an incentive for us not to leave anything to chance,” said Matfield.
He laughed about noises from the Cape that WP will be supporting the Bulls all the way on Saturday.
“We want to beat the Cheetahs to ensure that we qualify for the semis.
If WP benefits in the process, that would be pure coincidence,” the Springbok lock added
He gave the assurance that the Bulls learned a lot from the mistakes that led to their defeat against the Sharks in Durban.Tweet