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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Marco van Staden © Gallo Images

Van Staden, Smit hoping injury cloud is not a storm

The Vodacom Bulls loose forward duo of Marco van Staden and Roelof Smit will be holding their breath that their injury concerns aren’t worse than expected when both get a more thorough diagnosis on Monday.

The duo, who were in line for a Springbok call-up before their ill-fated match against the Brumbies, both left the field with injuries and their participation in the remainder of Super Rugby is seriously in doubt.

It couldn’t have been a more disappointing end to the first half of the season for the duo as Van Staden left the field with a suspected ankle fracture and Smit injured his MCL ligament during the 38-28 loss.

It has left the Bulls severely depleted on the loose forward side, with both regular starters under coach John Mitchell.

News from the camp on Sunday was that the initial diagnosis looked better for Van Staden than expected, as it didn’t look like a fracture, but that subsequent tests would need to be done before a final decision as to his injury is taken.

But with Van Staden clearly in pain when he left the field, and talk of a knee and ankle injury at the same time, the Bulls are taking no chances.

Smit’s injury needs also to be confirmed, but the unlucky flanker – who was injured two years ago before he was set to make his Bok debut – looks to be out for around six weeks. This will also be confirmed on Monday.

“I think Roelof has to be fully diagnosed but it is MCL but Marco is a fracture of some sort in the ankle. I just saw him on the stretcher going into the ambulance,” coach John Mitchell said after the loss on Saturday night.

The Bulls now have a few weeks off before starting their preparations for a tricky fixture against the resurgent Sunwolves in Hong Kong, and are already depleted with the loss of props Pierre Schoeman and Lizo Gqoboka, lock Lood de Jager and several other injury concerns in the camp.

“We will just have to collect numbers and see what we’ve got left in terms of playing resources, because loosies are starting to get thin,” Mitchell said when asked about the injuries.

“We are maximising the locks and up front in the front row, especially the props, we are managing that area as well.”

Mitchell didn’t want to blame the long season, as the Bulls had their second bye several weeks ago, but it has clearly had an impact on the team’s fortunes this season.

“It has been a long haul and that is what it was, so you can’t plan for it. The key injuries haven’t been muscular, a lot of it has been proper collisions,” Mitchell said.

“So yeah, she is a relentless competition and it demands a lot of you mentally. The guys have actually prepared really well but we got untidy at the wrong point in the match which was the last 20 minutes.

“We had the opportunity to earn it and we let it slip.”

The Bulls will be enjoying a rest this week before the injury assessments are done and a relook at the planning for the last few weeks of the competition begins.


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