Bulls without Vermeulen, Nyakane for Rainbow Cup opener

The Vodacom Bulls will start their Rainbow Cup campaign against the Lions without injured captain Duane Vermeulen and vice-captain Trevor Nyakane.

Vermeulen is still recovering from the knee operation he underwent following the Currie Cup final, even though he has rejoined training with Gio Aplon and Travis Ismaiel.

Nyakane has a rib injury, but is expected to only spend a short period on the sidelines.

This means that Nizaam Carr would retain the captaincy after the experienced Springbok loose forward led the team during the Preparation Series. Arno Botha is also a candidate to captain the Bulls against the Lions in Saturday’s match in Pretoria.

In more positive news, the Bulls will be able to select Stravino Jacobs again after the wing recovered from his broken finger. Likewise, young prop Simphiwe Matanzima is fit again and ready for selection after he missed almost the entire last season with a torn achilles tendon.

Walt Steenkamp has been given the green light to continue his rugby after the lock’s career came under threat due to a heart condition, but he won’t be available this weekend.

Ivan van Zyl is also no longer available for selection as he prepares for a move to England with Saracens, leaving Embrose Papier, Zak Burger and Keagan Johannes as the other scrumhalves.

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