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VIDEO: What's the real extent of Bulls' injury situation?

The Bulls head into a crucial month of United Rugby Championship fixtures with a heavy injury cloud hanging over the team.

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Director of Rugby Jake White did little to provide clarity, with some cryptic statements suggesting the situation might be far more grave that expected.

Following their dramatic departure from Europe – a humbling 22-59 Champions Cup quarterfinal loss to Northampton Saints at the weekend – their focus now shifts to the URC.

The next four matches are all at home – with Munster (this coming Saturday, April 20) and Ospreys (a week later) visiting Loftus Versfeld.

The weekend of May 4 and 5 is reserved for European semifinals, giving the URC teams another mid-season break.

Then Glasgow Warriors (May 11) and Benetton (May 18) travel to Pretoria, before the Bulls head to Durban on June 1, for a face-off with a Sharks team that may well play in the Challenge Cup Final the week before.

Even before his team’s departure for England last week, White was at pains to state that there were ‘medical reasons’ for his team selection.

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And in the wake of the weekend’s loss to Saints, the Bulls boss said: “I have guys who have gone in for surgery this week.”

He was unwilling to provide details.

However, weekend media reports suggested captain Marcell Coetzee and World Cup-winning Springbok Marco van Staden may have been on the list of players who underwent surgery.

The Sunday weekly newspaper Rapport suggested Coetzee will be sidelined for the rest of the season.

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White was noncommittal in his post-match responses.

(WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White uses some cunning explanations to avoid giving insights into his team’s injury status.…)

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“One of the challenges of a coach is that I’m not going to tell you who is injured, I’m not to tell you who can’t play next week,” White said.

“The reality is that this is a competitive industry.

“I’m not going to tell you now who is not going to play against Munster.

“As soon as I tell you I’ve got 12 injuries and five might not play next week – no one does that.

“I can’t go onto the Northampton website and find out how many guys got injured last week.”

Pushed again for an answer, White stuck to his guns.

“It’s not the way you should do it, tell people a week out who can and can’t play.

“Any team will appreciate that you try and keep your selection [cards] as close as possible [to your chest].

“Things can change during the week.

“I would rather find out when I get back who has recovered, who has gone in for operations and how those look.

“There are a lot of guys who I am considering playing because I don’t know how many of the guys I left behind are going to be ready after just a week of rehab.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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