Chiliboy Ralepelle is still out of action with the
foot injury that cost him a place in the Currie Cup final squad and
also saw him return home early from the Springbok tour to Europe.
That was the news after the Bulls had regrouped for training on
Monday. They will have only one warm-up outing - against the Lions
in Polokwane on January 30 - before the start of the Super 14
Botha had an Achilles operation in December after a season where
his knee also played up. But such is the Bulls' depth at lock with
players like Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Fudge Mabeta, Flip van
der Merwe and Wilhelm Steenkamp to carry the burden in Botha's
absence, that the lay-off could do the abrasive lock more good than
Prop Frik Kirsten is recovering well from his neck operation,
while Boks Heini Adams (scrumhalf, ankle) and Akona Ndungane (wing,
broken leg) are busy with rehabilitation.
** The new Bulls signings - Jacques-Louis Potgieter who returns
after his stint with the Free State Cheetahs and Griquas tighthead
prop Bees Steyn - trained with the Bulls on Monday when fitness
tests were the order of the day after some initial administration
and a team discussion about the season ahead.
Former Bok centre De Wet Barry, who like Potgieter and Steyn was
part of the Bulls' training camp in George before their two-week
break, is also still part of the training group. A decision on his
future with the Bulls will be taken towards the end of January.
Barry has been invited as a loan player from Eastern Province.
Team manager Wynie Strydom on Tuesday said he was impressed with
the fitness levels of the players.
"It is obvious that they struck to their training programmes
over the festive period."
The Bulls and Lions will each play with two teams in
Polokwane - less than two weeks before the kick-off of the Super 14
where the Bulls will play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday
February 12 and the Lions face the Stormers in Johannesburg the