Bulls get double forward boost

rugby09 April 2024 14:00
By:Brenden Nel
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Celimpilo Gumede @ Gallo images

The Vodacom Bulls will be boosted by the return of Cameron Hanekom and Celimpilo Gumede for their Investec Champions Cup clash against Northampton Saints this Saturday.

As the team negotiated a tough travel schedule which included eight different flights to get them to their base for the game in England, the return of the two loose forwards will be a great relief for the side, especially given some of their injury concerns.

With World Cup winner Marco van Staden still on the sidelines and acquisition Jannes Kirsten not ready to be selected yet, the form duo of Hanekom and Gumede will be a big boost for the side.

Indications are that co-captain Ruan Nortje, who pulled up during the warm-up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by 19-year old lock JF Van Heerden for the game against Lyon, is also not ready to return.

That may mean Van Heerden, who had a stellar performance against the French side, may well continue in the role.

The Bulls kept mum about their travelling squad, but it was clear that there are a lot of bumps and bruises from the Lyon game.

White did make a point in saying despite the one-sided 59-19 scoreline, it was a very physical game and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bulls have a reshuffled squad for the quarterfinal given the demands of travel and the game.

They also have a tough game on their return in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship where they face defending champions Munster at Loftus Versfeld next week and will only arrive back in eight flights on Monday, meaning the training day is a bust.

The Munster game is critical for the Bulls' hopes of getting a home playoff game at Loftus, in order to enhance their chances of achieving their goal of winning their first URC championship.