Rugby 26.2.2014 06:00 am

Bulls loose trio dilemma

FILE PICTURE: Pierre Spies of the Bulls in action against the Waratahs. Picture: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix.

FILE PICTURE: Pierre Spies of the Bulls in action against the Waratahs. Picture: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix.

Regular Bulls skipper Pierre Spies’ long-term bicep injury, the exact same injury that kept him out for a large chunk of last season, exemplifies the widespread concerns over the state of the side in Super Rugby.

The eighthman will most likely miss the entire tournament.

But the real problem is a more holistic one.

Had a freakish turn of events not ruled out the exciting Arno Botha (knee) and experienced Deon Stegmann (groin) during the pre-season, coach Frans Ludeke’s headache wouldn’t necessarily have been as acute.

In fact, even after Spies withdrew before last week’s loss to the Cheetahs, Ludeke still had enough resources in the loose forward department to at least plug the gap.

Granted, that area is now very thin, but still it doesn’t come to the core of the matter.

The Bulls seldom struggle for depth in the physicality department.

Instead, their biggest problem relates to quality.

The marauding 19-year-old Jacques du Plessis has gained some plaudits for his brave displays to date, but it can’t mask the fact that he’s operating in a three-man system that looks clumsy – too much bulk, too little nimbleness.

It’s an unbalanced equation.

Also, it remains to be seen if Kings recruit Jacques Engelbrecht really is the real deal while Jono Ross’ credentials and work rate continues to be questioned in some quarters.

“We have learned by now that you have to adapt when the injury bogey strikes, so we will have to adjust accordingly,” said Ludeke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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