Pollard, Kriel unleashed on Chiefs

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:23
Large handre pollard bulls training 800

INJURY UPDATE: Springboks Handré Pollard and Jesse Kriel will both make their comebacks from injury in the Bulls' opening match of 2017.

The Bulls will face the two-time Super Rugby champion Chiefs in a pre-season match in Ballymore, Brisbane, on February 8. Three days later both teams will feature in Brisbane 10s.

However, it is at Ballymore where the prodigiously talented Pollard will make his long-awaited return after a year on the sidelines.

Pollard, who ruptured his knee ligaments in training in February last year, opted to also undergo corrective shoulder surgery.

However, at one stage thought he might never play again - after a serious infection in his shoulder, following the surgery, resulted in a suggestion that he might have to have his arm amputated.

The doctors, however, responded rapidly and Pollard is already back on the training field.

Kriel injured his lower leg in the opening match of the Springboks year-end tour - a 31-all draw with the Barbarians at Wembley.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said a number of players who have been sidelined for a long time are being "eased back" in training.

"Handré [Pollard] and Jesse [Kriel, lower leg] are looking good," Marais told rugby365.

"They are training already and they will feature in the warm-up game against the Chiefs [in Brisbane in February]."

The only players who are not available for the opening match of the season, against the Stormers in Cape Town on February 25, are Adriaan Strauss (back surgery- Arno Botha (shoulder surgery) and Jannes Kirsten (shoulder surgery).

The Bulls have made significant acquisitions for the 2017 season - Bok lock Lodewyk de Jager (from the Cheetahs), prop Jacobie Adriaanse (from Kings), prop  Conraad van Vuuren (from Free State Cheetahs), hooker Edgar Marutlulle (from Kings), loose forward Shaun Adendorff (from Boland Cavaliers), utility back Johnny Kôtze (from Stormers) and wing Sibahle Maxwane (from Western Province).

A substantial number of senior players have left the franchise - either moving abroad or being released domestically.

Those who won't feature this year include props Dean Greyling (to Oyonnax), Werner Kruger (to Scarlets) and Marcel van der Merwe (to Toulon), hookers Bandise Maku (retired) and Callie Visagie (released), locks Grant Hattingh (to Kubota Spears), Irné Herbst (to Kings), Nico Janse van Rensburg (to Montpellier) and Marvin Orie (to Lions), loose forwards Pieter Labuschagné (to Kubota Spears) and Deon Stegmann (to Honda Heat), utility back Dan Kriel (to Stormers), backs Bjorn Basson (released) and SP Marais (released).

By Jan de Koning
@kings365ed
@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Chiefs v Reds 07h35 New Plymouth
Waratahs v Blues 09h45 Allianz Park
Sharks v Force 13h05 Kings Park, Durban
Bulls v Crusaders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Jaguares v Sunwolves 21h40 Buenos Aires
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 9 3 0 6 18
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 9 4 0 5 22
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15