Bulls coach Mitchell has a lot on his mind ahead of Super Rugby clash against Sunwolves
Bulls coach John Mitchell will pin his hopes on the experience of some of his Springboks players when they take on the Sunwolves in a Super Rugby encounter at the Singapore National Stadium on Saturday.
The former champions go into this match sitting precariously at the bottom of the South African Conference and they have to win their remaining three matches against the Sunwolves‚ the Jaguares and the Lions to make it to the play-offs.
Players who are going to be important for the Bulls are flyhalf Handrè Pollard‚ who will captain the side in the absence of injured Burger Odendaal‚ and lock RG Snyman‚ who was one of the best players for the Boks in the recent series win over England.
Highly-rated scrumhalf Embrose Papier has been given another opportunity in the starting line-up to show his worth and Mitchell said it was good to see his players impress at Test level and against good opposition like England.
“It was good to see that some of the guys found their feet at Test level‚” Mitchell said before they departed for Asia this week.
There were more positive news for Mitchell because Pierre Schoeman and Conraad van Vuuren are available again after they served their three-week suspensions for different offences before the international break.
Preparations for the trip were not smooth sailing for the Bulls as Mitchell had to negotiate around a number of injuries to key players like regular skipper Odendaal‚ who is struggling with a calf strain‚ and winger Travis Ismaiel who suffered a niggle with the Boks.
Trevor Nyakane‚ Lizo Gqoboka and Frans van Wyk‚ and Lood de Jager have been laid low by an assortment of injuries while loose forwards Roelof Smit and Marco van Staden are not available.
Smit and Van Staden have joined long-term casualties Tim Agaba and Hendre Stassen on the sidelines.
“From being a side that was right in contention‚ we are now a side that has been decimated by injuries to the forwards‚" said Mitchell.
"We are in a crisis situation with the props and we only have Pierre and Conraad standing.
"The loose forward area is also a crisis because we only have players returning from long-term injury and none of them are as match fit as I would like them to be.
"We certainly have a big challenge in that area and for the rest of the competition.”
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