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Bulls face crisis at lock

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De Jager’s absence meant Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard take over the captain’s armband

The Bulls’ lock crisis deepened this week with Eli Snyman joining the growing injury list among the second-rowers ahead of their crucial match against the Sharks in Pretoria on Saturday.

The news comes two days after it was revealed that line-outs lynchpin and Bulls captain Lood de Jager has been ruled out for four months due to a shoulder injury.

De Jager’s absence meant Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard take over the captain’s armband.

Bulls coach Pote Human was forced to make a few positional changes to the side that demolished the Lions 30-12 over the weekend.

“Eli is unfortunately out, he hurt his shoulder last weekend and we thought he would be ready but he didn’t make the fitness test,” Human said. “It is probably a bit of a test for the guys, but they are excited, we are back at Loftus; and although we’ve had two good wins we know the Sharks have a good pack.

“The Sharks are fresh off a defeat and they have a really good team so it is going to be tough.”

Human moved Hanro Liebenberg from the side of the scrum to the second row where he will partner with Jason Jenkins.

Tim Agaba and Jannes Kirsten will form a new loose trio with Duane Vermeulen after Stoney Steenkamp failed to recover from a concussion.

Plucky scrumhalf Embrose Papier will shift to the bench with Ivan van Zyl earning a start as part of a rotational policy.

The Bulls, meanwhile, will be looking to extend their unbeaten run against the Sharks to eight matches and claim their third South African scalp of the 2019 campaign.“The Sharks have a very good pack and they will come and try and take us on up front,” Human said.

“Then they have Robert du Preez at flyhalf who can dictate the game when they have the front-foot ball.”

BULLS team (15-1): Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Jesse Kriel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Handré Pollard (c), Ivan van Zyl, Duane Vermeulen, Tim Agaba, Jannes Kirsten, Jason Jenkins, Hanro Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka.

Bench: Corniel Els, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Tembelani Bholi, Paul Schoeman, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw.