Bulls minus two key Boks against Lions
INJURY UPDATE: The double champion Bulls will start their Rainbow Cup campaign without two of their World Cup-winning Springboks.
The Bulls host Trans-Jukskei rivals the Lions at Loftus Versfeld in the opening round of the tournament on Saturday.
Captain and Bok No.8 Duane Vermeulen is not yet fit enough, after undergoing a surgical procedure after the Currie Cup Final to repair a damaged knee.
Vermeulen – along with fellow Boks Gio Aplon and Travis Ismaiel – have started selected unit sessions.
However, all three are expected to return to full training in two weeks.
It means the trio will miss at least the opening two rounds – against the Lions in Pretoria this week and the Stormers in Cape Town next week.
Meanwhile Bok prop Trevor Nyakane has picked up a rib niggle and will not be available for selection this weekend.
However, his absence is expected to be short-lived and he might be on the flight to Cape Town next week.
The good news is that Stravino Jacobs has recovered fully from his fractured finger and is training with the squad.
Simphiwe Matanzima has recovered fully from his Achilles tendon injury and is training with the squad.
Lock Walt Steenkamp has received the green light from the cardiologist and has resumed selected training sessions.
He is not available for selection as of yet.
In the absence of Vermeulen, it is expected that Bok loose forward Nizaam Carr is expected to continue as captain – as he did during the Preparation Series.