Hattingh has established himself as quite a resourceful and useful player covering positions in both the second row and amongst the loose forwards and his absence will be felt when the Bulls take on the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.
Hattingh’s experience and skills have seen the former Kingswood College pupil hold his own against some of the best locks in world rugby and he had formed a formidable second row partnership with the ever-improving RG Snyman.
More than just his ability on the field, Hattingh was a crucial member of the Bulls brains trust in providing vital information on the new opposition after his stint in Japan before the start of Super Rugby.
Hattingh, who suffered the injury on Monday afternoon, could have embarked on the trip to Singapore but the Bulls medical staff opted to take the cautious route and treat the injury at home. He has been replaced by Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg who could be elevated to the starting line-up with Snyman moving from No 4 to No 5 lock.
The Bulls have taken a squad of 25 players on their trip to Asia with Ivan van Zyl and Pierre Schoeman being added to Friday night’s match day 23 against the Sharks with Janse van Rensburg having been the late call-up due to Hattingh’s injury.
Bulls coach Nollis Marais is unlikely to change much in his team and his biggest concern seems to be what it is that the Sunwolves would have up their sleeves this week.
While there has been sufficient footage over the past three weeks to know what to expect from the Sunwolves, Marais is particularly worried by the minor change in tactics on a weekly basis from the Super Rugby newbies.
It may be obvious that the Sunwolves have adopted the high tempo game of their national team and so, too, their defensive style but coach Mark Hammett is seemingly tweaking his tactics to exploit the weaknesses of the opposition.
Marais is fully aware of his team’s weaknesses but would have been encouraged by the manner in which they have improved in all areas of play but they will still need to be wary of the Sunwolves pulling an ace from their sleeve.
“They keep the ball quite well and they come with new interventions every time with a chip or a grubber to put you under pressure.
“It is always difficult to play away from home and I believe that we must be ready for anything. Every week there is something new from their side which is difficult to prepare for. We know that we must expect the unexpected and we will just have to adapt to that,” said Marais.
Bulls touring squad
Backs: Warrick Gelant, Jamba Ulengo, Jan Serfontein, Burger Odendaal, Bjorn Basson, Francois Brummer, Rudy Paige,Ivan van Zyl, Piet van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Jesse Kriel.
Forwards: Arno Botha, Jannes Kirsten, Roelof Smit, RG Snyman, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane, Bandise Maku, Lizo Gqoboka, Hencus van Wyk, Jason Jenkins, Nic de Jager, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg - The Star
Original source: Bulls suffer Hattingh blow