Bulls captain Nortje targets Christmas match against Stormers for return

The Bulls are in action in the Champions Cup over the next two weekends.

Injured Bulls captain Ruan Nortje is hoping to make a return to action before Christmas when his team take on their arch-rivals, the Stormers, in a United Rugby Championship match in Cape Town on December 23.

Nortje, who is the co-captain of the team alongside Marcell Coetzee, is nursing a hamstring strain, picked up in the team’s emphatic 53-27 win against Connacht in the URC at Loftus Versfeld 10 days ago.

He and Coetzee, who is suspended at the moment, also missed the Bulls’ big 44-10 win against the Sharks at home this last weekend.

Nortje will miss this weekend’s Champions Cup match against Saracens in Pretoria as well as next week’s outing against Lyon.

‘Not too bad’

According to the Nortje, who was speaking to the team’s official podcast, he has targeted December 23 as his comeback date.

“Unfortunately, I went into a breakdown and couldn’t get my leg out at the right time and just overextended,” Nortje said.

“Luckily it’s 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 [Louw] supported me so much … it’s a no-brainer, he’s definitely the best candidate for it [the captaincy].

“He [too] 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.”

Win the URC title

The Bulls have been South Africa’s dominant team so far this season, winning five and losing two of their URC matches to date. They are in third place on the points table and according to Nortje, there’s plenty confidence in the camp about the team’s chances of going far in the competition this year.

“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.”

This story first appeared on sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission.

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