The Cheetahs squad has now been discussed and time to do the same through a range of Articles on the Bulls.
After the Bulls range of Articles, we’ll see ranges of Articles on the remainig 3 Franchises too… but let’s focus on the Bulls for now. I will handle the discussion of players a bit differently from the Articles on Cheetahs contenders, limiting discussion to the 33 players in the Bulls official Super Rugby training group.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the Vodacom Bulls 2012 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Name: Dean MacGyver Greyling “Wors”:
A year ago Greyling was a back-up prop to Gurthrö Steenkamp at the Bulls, but with the latter now in Toulouse and missing most of last season due to a broken arm, Greyling used that opportunity to cast his own shadow. Powerful with ball in hand and very strong in the scrum, he impressed all in 2011 and made a lasting impression when called upon for test match duty.
Dean ‘MacGyver’ Greyling was one of the stars of the 2004 Craven Week competition and has now firmly established himself as a powerhouse in South African rugby.
Greyling attended Affies, in Pretoria, and played for the Bulls age-group sides from 2005 to 2007. He was one of the standout players in the 2010 Currie Cup and was rewarded with a call up to the Springboks Preliminary training squad ahead of their end-of-year tour. He continued his good form during the 2011 Super 15 and was selected to start at loosehead prop for the Springboks on their Tri- Nations tour against Australia and New Zealand.
Funny story – It seems that Greyling, whilst a youngster, was besotted with the television programme MacGyver and pestered his folks to the extent that they actually changed his name on his birth certificate. All grown up now, there was the idea to change it, but Greyling decided otherwise.
- 2011: Blue Bulls (Super Rugby & Springbok)
- 2010: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Bulls (Super 14)
- 2009: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup)
- 2008: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Bulls (Vodacom Super 14)
- 2007: Blue Bulls (Under-21), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
- 2006: Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (Under-19)
- 2005: Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying 21und), Blue Bulls (Under-21)
- 2004: Blue Bulls (U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
He will be a contender again for a Springbok berth as loosehead prop in 2012.
Greyling is a strong scrummager but is also a very hard strike runner and is a very busy player in the loose and at ruck and maul time. Expecting a big year from the “Wors”.
Kruger has improved season upon season and his call-up to the Springbok test side in 2011 was no surprise. Already a stalwart in previous Bulls packs, it will be expected of this durable prop to show the way as a senior member of the tight five. He has sound basics, with his greatest asset the ability to deliver five star performances week in and week out.
He made his debut for the Bulls during the 2008 season. Kruger was part of the Bulls team that won both the 2009 and 2010 Super 14 finals. He has represented South Africa at under 21 level and in 2011 also the Springboks.
Call him slow poison, the silent assassin or the rock of the Bulls scrum, it will not matter, as Werner Kruger will justify all those names allocated to him at Super Rugby level.
Kruger’s contribution does not finish with scrumming. He is solid on defense and often enough tops the stats with cleans at the ruck and his support play at line-out time is spot-on.
“I have tasted what it is like to play for the Springboks and I want more. I would like to be involved with the Springboks again and play tests for my country.”
Once again Werner will be in serious contention for Springbok selection in 2012.
After some time away from the game recovering from a neck operation and university studies, Kirsten is finally ready for rugby on the big stage. A fantastic athlete who can run most backs ragged, the former national age group player will add depth and brains to the Bulls pack. He is versatile and plays both sides of the scrum, making him a valuable squad member in a long season.
Frik Kirsten is one of a number of youngsters that was included by Frans Ludeke in his Super 14 squad in 2009.
Frik has played for the SA under 19′s as well as the SA under 20′s. He has attended Laerskool Elarduspark in Pretoria where he mostly played number 8 and was selected for the Blue Bulls’ Primary Schools Craven Week team. He enrolled at Affies where he continued playing at number 8, but in his under 16 year he was moved to lock and in his St 9 year he made the permanent switch to tighthead prop.
Some of the rugby scribes I share the Press Box with at Loftus rates Frik as having huge potential… may this be a year that he proves them right!
Rossouw de Klerk:
When called into the senior ranks as a junior prop De Klerk responded so well, he can boast a Currie Cup and Super Rugby medal already. He will push for a starting place in 2012, after playing almost exclusively off the bench in Super Rugby last season. A mobile player with great technique and aptitude for his position, De Klerk has a long and distinguished career ahead of him at this level.
He is a Tighthead prop and will miss the start of the 2012 Super Rugby season due to having undergone a foot-operation, late in 2011, resulting from an injury sustained in the 2011 Currie Cup competition.
Schooled across the road from Loftus Versfeld at Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies), Steyn has serious rugby dreams, which includes playing for the Bulls regularly and commanding a starting berth. He took a detour to the neighbouring Pumas side and has had some impressive performances in his 50 Currie Cup appearances for them, which resulted in him getting back where he wants to be at the Bulls. He gave some of the foremost Currie Cup and Super Rugby props a very hard time in 2011. Expect big things from this powerhouse in his first season of Super Rugby.
He signed a two-year contract with the Blue Bulls, late 2011 and will play for the Bulls in 2012 and 2013.
Steyn also attended the University of Pretoria, where he played Super Bowl rugby. He represented the Blue Bulls amateur side before embarking on a professional rugby career at the Pumas in 2008.
Frans Ludeke, the Bulls’ Super Rugby coach, said he was impressed by Steyn’s performances in recent seasons and feels that Dawie will add vital depth to the Bulls front row. He has all the attributes associated with Bulls front rowers and should add real value to their effort.
The Bulls are virtually assured to start with their two frontline props, who are both recent Springboks, Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger. There is no reason why it should be different either, these two players have anchored the Bulls scrums with distinction and will be difficult to contain, even by the strongest scrummagers in Super Rugby.
There is no reason why the Bulls scrum, with these props anchoring their scrum should not be right up there in the quality stakes.
The players who will play at prop for the Bulls are all seasoned campaigners, playing for the Bulls Franchise who pride themselves as traditional heavyweights in the forwards stakes, and this year should be no different.
The next Article in the range will deal with the Bulls hookers.