With lock Matfield not named in either of their two teams, the focus swings towards the return of their threesome of Springbok stars in captain, No 8 Pierre Spies, flank Arno Botha and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard against the Stormers this weekend in Polokwane.
Spies is back after an arm injury, while Botha (knee) and Hougaard (ankle) are also back in prime condition.
“We can’t give any comment yet,” said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke yesterday at Loftus Versfeld on the hotly debated topic of Matfield.
“We’ll have an answer soon and when we are ready we’ll say something on the matter,” Ludeke said.
The Bulls included 11 Boks in their starting line-up yesterday and Ludeke said he will also keep a keen eye on the curtain-raiser between the the Blue Bulls and Lions Vodacom Cup teams.
Ludeke said he has the fullest confidence in the new halfback combination of Hougaard and flyhalf Louis Fouche, while flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter also joined up with them yesterday from France.
This will be the only preparation for the Bulls before their Super Rugby opener against the Sharks in Durban on February 15.
“We know where we want to go as we gear up for the first game against the Sharks,” said Ludeke.
“This weekend’s team is more or less the one that will face the Sharks.”
But, Ludeke quickly added, the competition is long and they will rely heavily on their squad system.
“Our preparations have been very much game-related,” he said. “It’s all about testing our different combinations, while injuries are always a huge risk. We are up against proper opposition this weekend.”