JOHANNESBURG – If the challenge of facing the Lions at Ellis Park was not already a daunting one, the Bulls now have to make do without captain and linchpin Lood de Jager.
De Jager has been ruled out for at least two weeks after picking up a shoulder injury in their 27-12 defeat to the Jaguares in Argentina.
The Lions have suffered a similar blow with their inspirational captain Warren Whiteley also set to be sidelined for an extended period.
Bulls and Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant said although De Jager’s absence was a blow, they would have to kick on without him as they look to get back to winning ways.
“It is our captain that we have lost so there is obviously a hole he is leaving as an individual but hopefully, the next guy in can step up, “ Gelant said. “It is all we are all asking, a chance to show our skills and what we can do.”
Eli Snyman is expected to step into De Jager’s shoes where he will pack down in the second row next to Jason Jenkins.
De Jager joins fellow Bok lock RG Snyman on the Bulls injury list.
Gelant admitted that the Bulls followed the wrong tactics in the wet and slippery conditions against the Jaguares, but they were looking to bounce back against the Lions this weekend.
“We saw this weekend what Super Rugby actually is – we got a great win the previous week we got beaten – so the big thing about Super Rugby is how quickly you adapt, “ Gelant said. “The vibe is still there (in the team), I think we were just outplayed and I think we should have adapted better to the weather conditions.”
The Bulls will be looking to erase the memory of their 2018 clashes against the Lions where they suffered two heavy defeats.
The Lions ran rampant in their first clash at Loftus in March with a 49-35 victory before another comprehensive 38-12 win in the return fixture at Ellis Park.
“The Lions will have a different type of hunger playing at home and we will have to show them the respect they deserve,“ Gelant said. “It is going to be a Titanic battle and I am looking forward to the match because it will test us and gauge where we are.
“The Lions have shown over the last couple of years that they are a great side with a couple of Springboks.”