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Bulls issue update on 2 former European club players struggling for fitness

By Jan De Koning
Challenge Cup captains run du Plessis

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The Bulls will be without the services of their highly-rated, veteran lock Jacques du Plessis for the foreseeable future.

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Director of Rugby Jake White confirmed that the 28-year-old, who can play in the second row and at loose forward, is going for surgery on his Achilles.

“It is something that just flares up every week, “White told a virtual media briefing – ahead of the team’s back-to-back United Rugby Championship derby games against the Lions.

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The Lions host their northern neighbours at Ellis Park on Saturday and the return match is at Loftus Versfeld next week.

“The best solution is to get it fixed [surgically],” White said of the player – who has had limited game time as a result of injuries since signing from Montpellier last year.

“We can’t go two weeks on, one week off, three weeks off, two weeks on.

“Looking at where we want to be the next couple of years and having him as a player who can add value, we need to get the best out of him.

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“He is not going to be available for a while,” the Bulls boss said, without putting a timeline on his return to play.

“He has had it [Achilles injury] before. This is now the other foot, so we have to ensure he comes through nicely.”

Du Plessis, who played 60-odd games for the Bulls between 2013 and 2015, made more than 100 appearances for the French club, Montpellier, where White also coached him.

He is regarded as a valuable asset and one of the first players White brought back from abroad after taking over as Director of Rugby.

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However, he has only had a handful of games in Pretoria since his return.

Meanwhile White also gave an update on the other injury-prone forward in the camp, Cyle Brink.

Brink, who joined the Bulls from Leicester Tigers this year, suffered a hamstring in his first outing back – a 26-30 loss to the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday.

The 28-year-old loose forward is another player that has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

“The problem he has is that the nerve is very tender,” White said.

“When the nerve settles, the [hamstring] injury will recover much quicker.

“It is an inflamed nerve that is causing more pain.

“He is on the mend,” the Bulls boss said – adding that he could be back in “the next couple of weeks”.

Brink, who played 80-odd games for the Lions before heading abroad, also struggled with injuries while at Tigers in the 2020/21 season.

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