Bok mates resume battle
The Springboks returned to their Super 15 teams on Monday carrying bumps and bruises as well as the weird feeling of having to face their teammates a week after standing shoulder to shoulder against England.
This is the first time players have had to resume hostilities against each other so soon after wearing the Bok jersey, and it is something the team discussed after Saturday's 14-14 draw with England in Port Elizabeth.
"We spoke in the change room (after the England match) about going back to Super rugby because it is different and something we've never done before," said Bulls centre Wynand Olivier.
"It's quite strange but there is a sense of excitement and anticipation because three South African teams (Sharks, Bulls an Stormers) are still in the running for the title and all of us want to achieve that goal.
"There is a lot still to look forward to for all of the players and from a Bulls' point of view, we know we probably have to win our next three games to reach the play-offs.
"We know what we have to do and some of the players have had a good rest in this test window break so hopefully they will be ready to help us pull through."
Bulls flank Jacques Potgieter, who made his test debut against England in Port Elizabeth, will return to the Super 15 after missing the Bulls' last three matches because of injury.
The Bulls lost four games in a row before the break for the three tests and need to beat the Cheetahs, Sharks and Lions to ensure their place in the top six.
The Sharks have a bye this weekend and have only two matches remaining. They will probably need 10 points from those matches and will rely on other results going their way to reach the play-offs.
They have some injury worries at this stage in Pat Lambie (ankle) and Willem Alberts (knee), although the bye will give them more time to recover.
The Stormers will be without a trio of loose forwards in Schalk Burger, Nick Koster and Duane Vermeulen against the Lions this weekend. There is also some speculation that Burger and Vermeulen won't play again this season as they are struggling to recover from knee injuries.
Stormers flank Rynhardt Elstadt, who has been an integral part of their campaign this season, will also miss the Lions match because of a one-week suspension. It means that Siya Kolisi will be the most experienced back-rower in the Stormers' loose trio with hooker Deon Fourie set to pack down on the side of the scrum.