Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh will have to wait until Thursday to know whether he will play his 50th game in Vodacom Super Rugby against the Melbourne Rebels at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Hattingh hurt his neck in training on Wednesday and now waits for the doctor to clear him on Thursday before he can run out for his half century in the competition. Hattingh started his Super Rugby career at the Emirates Lions and played nine times for them in the competition.
Coach Nollis Marais was set to name an unchanged side from the one that went down to the DHL Stormers but his hand was forced by two injuries in training before the team was named.
Hattingh’s neck injury may not turn out to be serious, but the other loss was Springbok midfielder Jesse Kriel, who was concussed in a move on the field.
“Jesse Kriel got injured now, he has concussion. He got his head on the wrong side (of a collision) and I will not risk Jesse this weekend. Unfortunately, it seems injuries don’t keep away from Loftus. About 20 minutes ago in our training session he put his head on the wrong side of a normal attack/defence session. I won’t take a chance with his health,” Marais added.
“That means Jan Serfontein will move to 13 and Burger Odendaal will move into the 12 position. Dries Swanepoel will be on the bench.”
The upshot of all of this is that Serfontein and Odendaal will be paired in a combination that will be interesting to watch, while Kriel’s health will not be put in danger. Dries Swanepoel, highly rated and finally over all of his injury worries, will be making his debut from the bench for the Bulls.
Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, was pretty pleased that lock Grant Hattingh will play in his 50th match in Super Rugby.
“Grant really played well last weekend. He has been a real stalwart for the team in the last couple of seasons and I am pretty pleased that he can achieve his 50 match milestone in front of his home crowd at Loftus. That said, a real team effort will be needed to beat the Rebels. They are a very difficult team to play against as they play intelligent rugby and vary their game well. It is difficult to pin them down.”
The team (with Super Rugby caps) is: Warrick Gelant (1), Travis Ismaiel (7), Jan Serfontein (37), Burger Odendaal (11), Bjorn Basson (87), Francois Brummer (6), Rudy Paige (22), Arno Botha (34), Jannes Kirsten (1), Nic de Jager (1), Grant Hattingh (49), RG Snyman (1), Marcel van der Merwe (34), Adriaan Strauss (119, c), Trevor Nyakane (59). Replacements: Jaco Visagie (4), Lizo Gqoboka (1), Hencus van Wyk (2), Jason Jenkins (1), Roelof Smit (4), Piet van Zyl (55), Tian Schoeman (8), Dries Swanepoel (0).
– African News Agency (ANA)