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White to rest Bulls players against Pumas‚ with eye on Covid-19 and Lions semi

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Coached Vodacom Bulls Jake White.
Coached Vodacom Bulls Jake White.
Image: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White has indicated that he will rest certain players when they take on the Pumas in their last round robin match of the Currie Cup in Mbombela on Sunday.

The Bulls go into this match against the Pumas guaranteed a home semifinal against the Lions next weekend and White doesn’t want to risk some of his players contracting Covid-19 or suffering injuries.

“We have finished on top of the log‚ so I don’t really need to risk any of players‚” he said after his team’s hard-fought 22-15 win over the Lions at Loftus on Wednesday.

White stressed the Bulls will field the best possible team against the Pumas but focus is on the Lions next weekend where they will be battling for a place in the final.

White said the Bulls’ focus is on their Lions semi.

“There are a lot of guys that I could have used today [Wednesday] but we couldn’t because of the fact that the return to play protocols were not good enough. Hopefully now we can try other things but I am not sure yet.

“I will sleep on this and have a look at how things pan out and what injuries and niggles we have.

“We are going to play against the Lions again‚ we must try and find out what I think is the best team to play against them. I am obviously very happy that all of them are negative [for Covid-19] but I think what happens for us is that there are these return to play protocols where they do screening and they check the heart and all the other things they do.

“A lot of them are fine‚ but it was just too much of a risk to push them into a game situation against the Lions on Wednesday. Having had Covid-19 myself‚ I appreciate it so much because it’s a serious thing and I am comfortable that by the time we play the semifinal in 10 days’ time they will be negative.

“I can’t guarantee that because I am not sure how their return to play protocols are going to work out. You don’t know how long it’s going to take before their heart beats and respiratory part of their bodies are fully functional as well.”