Ruan Nortje hopes to recover in time to feature for the Vodacom Bulls against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town before the close of 2023.
The lock injured his hamstring in the Bulls’ mauling of Connacht at Loftus Versfeld in round 6 of the Vodacom URC, ruling him out for last week’s 44-10 win against the Sharks and home-and-away matches in the Champions Cup against Saracens and Lyon, respectively.
But, the URC’s inaugural ‘Iron Man’ has his fingers crossed of making a full recovery to return to action at Cape Town Stadium on 23 December.
Speaking on the Bulls’ official podcast, the 25-year-old touched on his injury while giving his vote of confidence for interim skipper Elrigh Louw in the absence of Nortje and fellow co-captain Marcell Coetzee.
“Unfortunately, I went into a breakdown and couldn’t get my leg out at the right time and just overextended,” Nortje said.
“Luckily not too bad, we’re looking at four weeks but otherwise hopefully I’ll be back for the Stormers game. Otherwise definitely in January I’ll be back in the mix.
“Jake [White] spoke to Marcell and I and said this is going to be a long season and it’s not always going to be the perfect [week] with Marcell and I being able to play.
“Last season Elrigh supported me so much … it’s a no-brainer, he’s definitely the best candidate for it. He leads by his actions, he always plays his heart out and is good at communicating and motivating the guys. A lot of the guys respect him, he’s going to be great.”
The Bulls head into a two-week pause in the URC in third position on the table, after five wins and two defeats, and Nortje is confident of their title chances this season.
He added: “Our biggest goal is to win the URC, we know we are capable of it, we’ve been [in a final] two years ago and were in with a shot.
“Our motto for the year is taking it week for week … keeping that points [tally on the log] ticking. That’s our motto, keep those points ticking.”