Johannesburg – The Bulls will be hoping a return of a number of Springboks and stalwarts will give them a boost ahead of their first home match in the Super Rugby competition this Friday against the Sunwolves.
While they have gone without a win in their opening two games against the Stormers and Cheetahs, the Bulls will be hoping this week’s return to home soil will be good enough for them to get themselves back to winning ways.
The Bulls will likely be close to full strength for the first time this season, as Adriaan Strauss, the former Springbok captain returns from injury and is likely to fill the hooker berth and take over the captaincy from Handre Pollard.
Pollard will be freed to concentrate on his attacking game, and is likely to look a lot sharper than in the past.
Loose forwards Arno Botha and Jannes Kirsten are also likely to be cleared to play, with both playing in the Blue Bulls warm-up fixture on Saturday in Durban against the Sharks and are likely to be in the match-23 against the Sunwolves on Friday.
Kirsten’s workrate in particular will be useful to give some impetus to a loose trio that was lacking punch in the opening two games, but it will be interesting to see what the Bulls do at openside, where has been little to crow about.
Jan Serfontein’s return in the backline is particularly pleasing and will offer some variety for coach Nollis Marais, but whether he will start after such a long period on the sidelines waits to be seen.
Further clarity is also expected on the injury to Trevor Nyakane as well and to his availability for the weekend.