Planet Rugby

Flip back for Bulls

31st March 2014 12:47

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Flip van der Merwe Bulls bloody eye

Returning to action: Flip van der Merwe

Bulls skipper Flip van der Merwe handed his side a major boost with the news the second-row is fit to tour with the squad.

The Springbok powerhouse had sat out several games with a hamstring problem, missing the Bulls's sweet triumph over the Sharks and Saturday's late capitulation that allowed the Chiefs to salvage a 34-34 draw at Loftus Versfeld.

But van der Merwe will join the squad on their tour of New Zealand, and looks set to regain his place in the starting lineup to take on the Hurricanes in Napier this Saturday.

In his absence, veteran second-row partner Victor Matfield had taken over the captaincy, the World Cup-winner excelling on his return to Super Rugby. And the Bulls displayed depth in the engine room that will come as great comfort to boss Frans Ludeke - Paul Willemse and Grant Hattingh impressed with van der Merwe sidelined.

But there is bad news for Ludeke too, as fly-half Louis Fouche suffered a knee injury playing in the Vodacom Cup this weekend, and now awaits scans to reveal the extent of the damage.

If the problem is as severe as initially feared, it will cap a wretched start to the season for the pivot, who has toiled through poor form and injury setbacks.

Bulls Touring Squad: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, Bjorn Basson, William Small-Smith, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Ulrich Beyers, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Handre Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Rudy Paige, Piet van Zyl, Dewald Potgieter, Jacques du Plessis, Deon Stegmann, Jono Ross, Jacques Engelbrecht, Flip van der Merwe, Victor Matfield, Paul Willemse, Grant Hattingh, Werner Kruger, Dean Greyling, Morne Mellett, Bandise Maku , Bongi Mbonambi, Callie Visagie.

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