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
Mon, 20 February 2017
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 11h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9