Bulls' chances of making to the quarter-final in the ongoing Super Rugby season has been dealt a major blow with Springboks duo Duane Vermeulen and Handre Pollard to miss the remaining three league games.
The decision follows after the agreement with South Africa Rugby to rest contracted players ahead of the Rugby Championship to keep them in shape for the World Cup later this year.
Both the players last played together during Bulls' 17-32 win over Melbourne Rebels with Pollard missing the game against Brumbies last weekend. In their absence, Burger Odendaal has been handed the reigns of the club.
Bulls currently are at the third position of the South African Conference with seven wins from 13 games and will take on Blues, Highlanders and Lions in the final three rounds.
"We are the underdogs, no doubt about that," said Odendaal ahead of the game against Blues at Eden Park on Friday.
"That is good for us, as we can only concentrate on our own game and that we want to achieve.
"This will have to be very clinical performance from us. If not, it will be a long evening."