The Blue Bulls will be at full strength when they travel to Cape Town on Saturday to tackle Western Province in the much-anticipated Currie Cup semifinal.
Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday morning that there aren’t any casualties from the weekend’s 61-24 rout of the Leopards.
The Bulls received a further boost with the news that star Springboks Bryan Habana and Pierre Spies have been cleared to make the trip to Newlands.
“We did not pick up any serious injuries in the Royal Bafokeng Stadium and I am confident that Pierre Spies [finger ligaments] and Bryan Habana [hamstring] will join up with the team on Monday,” Strauss said.
Spies injured his finger ligaments against the Griquas in Week 13, while Habana injured tendons in the upper part of his hamstring in the same game.
“There is also a slight possibility that [hooker] Chiliboy Ralepelle [stress fracture] might play, but a final call on his eligibility will only be made later,” the doctor added.
If Ralepelle is not fit to play, then Bandise Maku will be on the bench as a replacement, with Derick Kuün expected to start.
The return of Habana and Spies will add spice to a semifinal that is one of the most anticipated showdowns every year -0 the traditional north-south derby.
The Bulls have made it clear the trip to Newlands holds no fear for them.
In fact it may have come as a relief that they are not travelling to Durban to face the Sharks, who remain a powerful unit – despite some hiccups with the re-introduction of their Springboks.
The Bulls, who last failed to reach the play-offs in 2001, are well aware that Province have not advanced past the semifinals since 2001 – when they edged the Sharks in the Final.
Province, who last reached the semis in 2006, lost to the Bulls and Free State Cheetahs (twice) in their last three semifinal appearances.
But those stats are meaningless, according to Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
“Games against Western Province are normally closely contested affairs and we don’t expect anything different this coming weekend,” said Ludeke.
“There is a lot at stake and we will have to quickly realise that we must make use of the one or two scoring opportunities created.
“This game will be the ultimate pressure situation for us this season and it really doesn’t matter where and who we play.
“It will be about which team can adapt to the pressure the best and which team can apply the pressure on their opposition to yield the necessary result,” he added