Double trouble for rugby’s ‘lock factory’

The Blue Bulls, known as the ”lock factory” for producing quality lock forwards over the years, are in a spot of bother because of the knee injury sustained by Springbok lock Bakkies Botha in Saturday’s Test against Argentina.

Botha has been sidelined for the remainder of the Tri-Nations competition and probably also the Currie Cup competition in what is effectively a double lock blow for the Blue Bulls.

Coach Frans Ludeke will now be without Danie Rossouw after his call-up on Sunday morning to join the Springbok squad for the three Tri-Nations Tests.

The injury to Botha also means Ludeke will not have the luxury of playing Botha once the Springboks return to their unions for the remainder of the Currie Cup season. Springbok captain Victor Matfield and Rossouw will now probably lock the scrum once the Bulls’ Boks are available for provincial duty.

Experienced lock Francois van Schouwenburg, with more than 100 caps for the Blue Bulls, also cannot relieve Ludeke’s problems as he is out for another six weeks with a hand injury.

The Blue Bulls will, therefore, have to find a partner for Wilhelm Steenkamp for at least the Currie Cup matches against Griquas on Friday night and against Western Province on August 29.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will undoubtedly request another week’s rest for the Boks after their final Tri-Nations match against Australia on August 30, which will rule out Rossouw and Matfield for the crucial match against the Sharks in Durban on September 6.

The Bulls side for this weekend could well see number eight Pedrie Wannenburg, who has been in great form this season after missing out on the World Cup, called up to lock the scrum with Steenkamp. The Bulls have a number of good loose forwards to stand in for Wannenburg if Ludeke opts for Wannenburg at lock.

If not, any one of Juandré Kruger, Fudge Mabeta or Hendrik Roodt could be called up by Ludeke to lock the scrum. — Sapa

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