The Vodacom Bulls have been rocked by the news that star fullback Warrick Gelant has broken his jaw and will be out for at least six weeks.
The fullback sustained the fracture to the left side of his jaw during the Bulls’ narrow win over the Sunwolves in Singapore on the weekend, with coach Nollis Marais now needing to find a new last line of defence ahead of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.
Gelant was one of the Bulls’ star performers in this year’s Super Rugby with his exceptional step and powerful attacking play, but he has been caught out of position a few times in the tournament as well.
The Bulls have a few options as replacements with former EP and Sharks fullback SP Marais also at Loftus on a short-term deal while Bjorn Basson and Jesse Kriel can both slot into the position as well.
Marais joined the Bulls after being released from his contract at the Kings after he didn’t receive his salary and wasn’t included in the Kings’ Super Rugby squad when it was taken over by SA Rugby.
With a wealth of experience, he seems to be the favourite, although Kriel made his name at fullback and initially became a Springbok after performing in the position in last year’s Super Rugby tournament.
Marais hasn’t been keen to play Kriel at fullback as the twin sees himself as a midfielder having played the majority of his test career in the position and for the national cause it was decided to keep him there throughout the season.
The injury – which will see Gelant undergo an operation on Wednesday – may well force a rethink from Marais in this regard.
There was a mixture of good and bad news on Tuesday as well as the Bulls started their preparations in earnest for the match against the Cheetahs.
Renaldo Bothma, the Namibian No 8 who joined the team from the Sharks last week, will be out for another fortnight as he recovers from his ankle injury while the loose trio duo of Lappies Labuschagne and Deon Stegmann, as well as prop Dean Greyling were all given the green light to train with the team again after various injuries.
Just whether they are considered for this weekend’s game waits to be seen, but the Bulls will be happy to have an extra dollop of experience in their ranks once again.