Rugby 22.7.2013 12:00 am

Bulls near full-strength

UNDER THE WEATHER. Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter is suffering from flu ahead of the Super Rugby play-off against the Brumbies at Loftus on Saturday. Picture: Backpagepix

UNDER THE WEATHER. Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter is suffering from flu ahead of the Super Rugby play-off against the Brumbies at Loftus on Saturday. Picture: Backpagepix

BULLS captain Dewald Potgieter emerged yesterday as the only minor concern in the camp ahead of the much anticipated Super Rugby semifinal against the Brumbies at Loftus this weekend.

Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter emerged yesterday as the only minor concern in the camp ahead of the much anticipated Super Rugby semifinal against the Brumbies at Loftus this weekend.

Team doctor Org Strauss confirmed yesterday that the Bulls will be able to pick a near full-strength team, bar a few long-term injuries.

Centre Jan Serfontein (knee), lock Flip van der Merwe (groin) and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard (ankle) have been cleared to play, with Potgieter (flu) the only bystander at training yesterday.

The Bulls resumed training and preparation yesterday after taking last week off – the reward they and the Chiefs earned for finishing in the top two after the completion of the regular fixtures.

Van der Merwe left the field injured in the last outing against the Stormers two weeks ago, while Serfontein and Hougaard were ruled out of that game.

The Bulls will know come kick-off on Saturday whether they are still in with a chance to host the 2013 Super Rugby final.

While they are seen as the favourites to tame the Brumbies, they need the Crusaders to continue their run in the morning’s other semifinal against defending champions the Chiefs.

Just two weeks ago, the Crusaders whipped the Chiefs 43-15 but that was in Christchurch. This time it’s being played in Hamilton, in front of fanatical Chiefs’ supporters.

With a Loftus crowd in the region of 52 000 expected, it’s the Bulls’ first home semi since 2010, when they beat the Crusaders 39-24, but that game was played at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

In effect, it’s the Bulls’ first semi at Loftus since 2009 when they beat the Crusaders 36-23, before whipping the Chiefs 61-17 in the final at the same venue.

That 2009 final was the only one hosted at Loftus, with the Bulls’ other successes in Durban in 2007 and Soweto in 2010.

Bulls fans will unite behind a Crusaders victory in hopes their team will not have to head for Hamilton, provided they manage to out-think and outplay Jake White and his Brumbies.

In Hamilton, it’s a repeat of last year’s semi between the two teams when the Chiefs edged the Crusaders 20-17, before thrashing the Sharks in the final.

 

 

 

 

 

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