Injuries rock champions

Habana, du Preez and Steenkamp out for the Bulls

Last Updated: 17/03/08 2:49pm

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Habana: Sidelined

Habana: Sidelined

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Defending Super 14s champions the Bulls have suffered a triple blow with the news that Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez and Wilhelm Steenkamp will all be sidelined.

The Bulls were went down in a shocking 40-8 defeat to the Reds on Saturday but it seems more than just their egos were bruised.

Habana injured his shoulder, Du Preez is struggling with his hand and Steenkamp was replaced at half-time following a chest injury.

Coach Frans Ludeke said on Monday the medical team is working around the clock to get the players back on the field, but he did not want to speculate as to who will be available for the next game against the Chiefs.

"We are obviously hoping that Fourie, Bryan and Wilhelm will recover in time and I am optimistic that they will," he told the club' official website.

"We would like to select the strongest team for the game against the Chiefs because we must get back on the winning path as soon as possible."

Below par

Habana seems the worst off and it is believed he won't be able to recover by Saturday, which leaves the Bulls in a real predicament.

The Springbok winger was set to start at full-back since Zane Kirchner is suspended and Morné Steyn performance at the back was below par. It now seems that Steyn will have a chance to redeem himself.

Hooker James van der Walt injured his hamstring against the Reds and consequently had to fly back to South Africa.

Ludeke said Van der Walt will be on the sideline for a week or two, but they didn't want to go into the match against the Chiefs with only one hooker and that is why Bandise Maku is on his way to Australia.

Ludeke said after studying the video of the game against the Reds it was clear that his team had wasted a number of try scoring opportunities.

"We did not convert our opportunities into points and I think they outplayed us at the break downs. The Reds put us under pressure at the rucks and we were not competitive enough," he explained.

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