The 4th Article in the set discussing the Vodacom Bulls.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
Wow, 5 CURRENT or very RECENT Springbok Loose Forwards in the Bulls Super Rugby group and only 3 can start a game… Plus 2 Junior World Champion Under 20 SA players in the broader squad. Which other Super Rugby side can muster or even sniff such quality?
Name: Gideon Johannes (Deon) Stegmann:
Quietly going about his business at the breakdown, Stegmann has grown into one of the most effective opensiders in the game today. He will again be to the fore in turning over opposition ball and his stats will show a consistent ability to carry ball, hit rucks and made a massive amount of tackles. The added experience of test match rugby makes him one of the key players in the Bulls pack.
Stegmann attended South Africa’s top-ranked rugby school, Grey College in Bloemfontein, where he was selected for the SA schools team. During high school he was a track and field athlete and played Number 8 (as well as flank) in Grey College’s First XV loose trio, alongside Springbok and Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brussow, and Cheetahs flank Richardt Strauss.
He made his Super 14 debut for the Bulls in 2008 at the age of 21.
Stegmann is a classic fetcher with a low centre of gravity who is thriving under the new law interpretations- and his anticipation, together with his toughness, is a huge asset for the Bulls.He made the number 6 jersey his own in 2008 after playing in every Super 14 match and being awarded Bulls Forward of the Year in 2008.
He has been one of the Super Rugby’s best openside flankers from 2008 to 2011, struggled with injury in 2012 (only played in 5 Super Rugby games). He is one of the hardest working players in the Bulls’ squad, as well as a superb team player with a very high work rate, regularly leading the tackle count, turnover and work rate stats for the Bulls.He has a time of 10.8 seconds in the 100 metre sprint.
In November 2010, Stegmann was called up to the Springbok squad (outgoing tours) as a replacement to injured Springbok flank and former IRB player of the year Schalk Burger, and was handed his first cap as a Springbok debutant in the starting lineup named to face Ireland on November 6, 2010. The Springboks won and Stegmann subsequently started every match on tour. South Africa obtained a result of 3-1 over the Isles, beating England and Wales and losing to Scotland.
Deon will be looking for an injury free 2013 and with so many youngsters at the Bulls sticking their hands up for starting berths, he will have to get back to his best form to retain his starting berth.
- Free State (U/18 Craven Week) – 2004
- Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup, SA Under 19) – 2005
- Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21) – 2006
- Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup, ABSA Currie Cup) – 2007
- Vodacom Bulls (Super 14) & Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup) – 2008
- Vodacom Bulls (Super 14) & Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup) – 2009
- Vodacom Bulls (Super 14) & Springboks (Outgoing Tours) – 2010
- Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby) & Springboks & Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup) – 2011
- Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby), Vodacom Blue Bulls (Currie Cup) – 2012
Name: Dewald Johan (Dewald) Potgieter:
The blonde tearaway will be the first to admit that 2011 was not his best season since becoming a professional rugby player, but 2012 was better, specially towards the end of the season as Dewald regained form and really stepped up a gear or two. Dewald will be very keen to improve even further in 2013 as the competition for Loose Forward berths at the Bulls is getting stronger every day with two youngsters in particular, Jean Cook and Arno Botha pushing very hard for starting berths. Injuries and a loss of form resulted in him losing his spot on the Springbok roster and the hurt of that will motivate Dewald tremendously. His versatility as a loose forward will also boost the Bulls.
His first tour with the Springboks was to France, Italy, Ireland & England in late 2009.
He has an exceptional work rate and fast became a crowd favourite when playing at his home ground, the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, in Pretoria, South Africa. Potgieter has won 2 Super rugby titles and a Currie Cup.
- Cravenweek – 1999–2003
- Border Under 18 Cravenweek, Green Squad – 2004
- Blue Bulls Under 19 & Blue Bulls Under 21 – 2005
- Blue Bulls, SA Under 21 – 2006
- Blue Bulls Under 21 Absa Competition, Emerging Springboks – 2007
- Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Emerging Springboks – 2008
- Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Emerging Springboks, Springboks (End Of Year Tours) – 2009
- Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Springboks – 2010
- Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup) – 2011
- Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup) – 2012
Name: Pierre Johan (Pierre) Spies:
Pierre Spies attended Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Afrikaans High School for Boys, also known as Affies). After school he completed his first year in B.Sc Construction Management at the University of Pretoria, but did not continue his studies due to te tragedy of his dad, Pierre Spies Snr’s passing (Pierre Snr played Wing for Northern Transvaal in the 1970′s).
He made his debut for the Blue Bulls in 2005 in a match against the Griquas and made his Super 12 debut against the Brumbies, becoming the youngest player ever to represent the Bulls. After being injured in his first ever Super 12 match, he made his comeback through the national under-21 league, where he scored nine tries in just six games.
He has represented the Springboks since 2006.
Although he plays as a loose forward, he has considerable pace, having been timed at 10.7 seconds over 100m. This is especially impressive considering his size (194 cm tall and 111 kg); he has played wing for the Bulls and Springboks when they experienced an injury crisis. He power cleans 135kg. He dead lifts 240kg. He bench presses 165kg. Only mildly impressed? Wait, here are some more. He is able to do pull-ups with a 50kg weight between his legs. He can launch his 108kg body 1.4m onto a raised platform, sprints for 835m before slowing on a repeated sprint-ability test and has a body-fat percentage of 6.5.
Pierre is now saddled with the Bulls captaincy for the Super Rugby competition and is now accepted amongst his peers as one of the great loose forwards in the international game and will be keen to remind all his opponents of that with his powerful play off the base, great pace in open space and anticipation in broken play. Captaincy at this level will be another challenge the extremely religious player embrace with open arms.
Pierre has been critisized widely for ‘disapearing’ in tight games and has not exactly set the world alight in the last 2 seasons for the Springboks, but was still the preferred No 8 for the Springboks until his thumb injury in the middle of 2012. Pierre needs to convert his massive power and explosive abilities better, by adopting better body positions going into contact and working on his defence and his handling behind the pack at the scrum.
If you love to hate Pierre because he does not play for your team, at the same time you have to admit that you also fear his abilities… come on, just admit it!
- 2002 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Craven Week – lock)
- 2003 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Craven Week – No 8 & captain)
- 2004 – Blue Bulls & SA Under 19 – Wing)
- 2005 – Bulls (Became the youngest Blue Bull to make his Super 12 debut at age 19), SA Students, Blue Bulls Under 21 – top try scorer with 9 tries in 6 games
- 2006 – Bulls (Super 14), SA Under 21, Springboks (Debut for Springboks vs Australia in Brisbane, MOTM vs All Blacks in Rustenburg), Voted SA’s Most Promising Player Of The Year, Nominee for Currie Cup Player Of The Year & SA Player Of The Year & IRB New Player Of The Year
- 2007 – Bulls (Super Rugby – winner), Springboks (MOTM award vs England at Loftus, Springbok World Cup – withdrew due to medical reasons
- 2008 – Bulls (Super 14), Springboks, Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2009 – Bulls (Super 14 – winner), Springboks (including against British & Irish Lions), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2010 – Bulls (Super 14 – winner), Springboks, Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2011 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Springboks, Springboks Rugby World Cup in New Zealand
- 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby – captain), Springboks – June & The Rugby Championship
Name: Arnoldus Francois (Arno) Botha:
He is not 21 years old and a solid fixture at the Blue Bulls and Bulls already. He seems to be destined and groomed for a Springbok berth too in the not too distant future. For the young tearaway it is clearly a case of – if he is good enough, he is old enough.
Botha made his first run-on start a week after debutting off the bench against the Pumas in 2011 and immediately showed against Griquas why he is rated amongst the top young players in the country.
The impressive youngster has all the qualities you expect from a product of the Bulls loose forward factory. He is extremely fit and strong, huge and don’t know how to quit. He is a destructive defender and a great ball carrier and was rated as one of the standouts at the Under 20 IRB Junior World Cup tournament in 2011, where he captained South Africa. Botha represents the next generation of Bulls players.
Last year (before the 2012 Super Rugby season) I touted Arno to become a Springbok and a bloody good one too… well he’s already made the Springbok touring side in 2012! This boykie is going places.
- 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Springboks (part of touring group Castle Outgoing Tours)
- 2011 – Tuks FNB Varsity Cup, South Africa Under 20 (IRB Junior World Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Vodacom Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2010 – Blue Bulls Under 19 (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
- 2009 – Limpopo Blue Bulls Under 18 (Under 18 Craven Week)
Name: Ulrich Jacques (Jacques) Potgieter:
He represented Eastern Province at the annual Craven Week rugby tournament in 2004 and then clinched a move to the Natal Sharks, whom he represented at various youth levels before playing in the Vodacom Cup for two seasons before moving back to the Eastern Province Kings for the 2009 Currie Cup First Division season.
In August 2011, the Blue Bulls announced that they had signed Potgieter for the 2012 season on a two-year contract. An early release of his contract was secured and he joined the Bulls on 1 September 2011.
Jacques has now played Super Rugby for the Bulls & Currie Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls and he has played one Test for the Springboks.
He impresses with strong ball-carrying performances, headless defence and providing that hard edge which is expected from looseforwards at the Bulls.
Expect this all action loose forward to hit the ground running in his 2nd season of Super Rugby. An abrasive and aggressive player, Potgieter does not know how to take a backward step but sometimes loses focus in his energy and because of that still has some distance to go to make him a better defender. Having paid his dues in the lower echelons of the game, Potgieter will be keen in 2013 to work for and achieve a role in the Springboks again.
- 2012 -Bulls (Super Rugby), Springboks, Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2011 – EP Kings Currie Cup First Division, SA Kings Nations Cup in Romania, Vodacom Blue Bulls Currie Cup
- 2010 – EP Kings Currie Cup First Division
- 2009 – EP Kings Currie Cup First Division, Sharks Vodacom Cup
- 2008 – Sharks Vodacom Cup
- 2007 – Sharks u.21 Absa Cup
- 2006 – Sharks u.19 Absa Cup
- 2004 – EP Schools Craven Week 2004
Name: Jean George (Jean) Cook:
Jean Cook has the junior pedigree to go all the way, having represented South Africa at Junior level as a utility forward and having played Vodacom Cup, Under 21 and Currie Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls in 2012.
Jean is robust, durable and an excellent ball carier. Much is expected from the youngster in 2013 and it could well be his break-through year, paving the way upward.
- 2012 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2011 – CUT (FNB Varsity Shield), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championship), Free State Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
- 2010 – Free State Under 19 (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
- 2009 – SA Under 18 High Performance & SA Schools Under 18 (SA Schools)
- 2008 – Under 18 Elite Squad (Elite Squads), Konica Minolta Free State Under 18 (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
- 2007 – Free State Under 16 (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
Name: Grant Neil (Grant) Hattingh:
Grant Hattingh played age-group level rugby for Western Province between 2009 and 2011 and also represented Maties in the 2011 and 2012 Varsity Cup competitions. He broke into the Western Province Vodacom Cup team after the completion of the 2012 Varsity Cup and made his provincial debut on 21 April 2012 against the Eagles in Oudtshoorn. Hattingh was a 35th minute replacement for Tyrone Holmes in a 29-14 win for Province.
In April 2012, Hattingh received a surprise call-up to the injury depleted Lions Super Rugby team. He made his Super Rugby debut on 27 April 2012 as a 50th minute replacement for Hendrik Roodt as the Lions lost 34-20 to the Brumbies.
In July 2012, he announced that he was joining the Blue Bulls on a two and a half year deal, where he saw quite a bit of action in the Currie Cup.
- 2012 – Maties (FNB Varsity Cup), DHL Western Province (Vodacom Cup), MTN Lions (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
- 2011 – Maties (FNB Varsity Cup), DHL Western Province (ABSa Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
- 2010 – Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
- 2009 – Western Province (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
Name: Shaun Adendorf:
Shaun Adendorf is one of the crop of masterful Blue Bulls players for South Africa in the IRB Junior World Cup Under 20 competition won by South Africa in 2012. He was also nominated as one of the candidates of the Tournament, won by his Blue Bulls team mate, Jan Serfontein in the end.
Shaun is a product of Port Natal Primary School and Glenwood High School in Natal.
He has all the skills, including some very good Sevens skills as showed recently in the IPL Style NBM Sevens Premier League Tournament in George.
He might just threaten to break though permanently into a starting spot for the Bulls and Blue Bulls in 2013. Much is expected of Adendorf, same with his fellow cohorts from the triamphant Blue Bulls Under 21 side of 2012. Have a good lookout for him, Wiaan Liebenberg and of course in the centres for Jan Serfontein as the youngsters totally break the mould and as they push themselves to the foreground in 2013.
Bluff-born loose forward, Shaun Adendorff, 20, was head-hunted by current Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to join the Blue Bulls in 2010 after Meyer saw him play at Academy Week in Vryheid.
The Glenwood old boy joined the Bulls after they tabled a offer that was too good to resist and is now studying towards a Sport Science degree at the University of Pretoria.
Shuan comes from a very sporting family, his mother Wilmer a former lady Springbok herself and his Ian father having represented Namibia as an 18-year old befor a knee injurie ended his career. Shaun was selected to play for the SA Under 19 Softball side whilst in grade 9 already and he also went on to play Craven Week rugby at Under 18 level for the Sharks.
There’s still the tough SA Under 20 star, Wiaan Liebenberg as well as Jacques du Plessis and Corné Cooper in the wider Bulls Super Rugby training group.
The starting trio should be 3 of the 5 current Bulls Loose Forward Springboks and one would guess it would be Deon Stegmann (Openside – No 6), Dewald Potgieter (Blindside – No 7) and Pierre Spies (No 8 & Captain), but I would actually have had Pierre Spies play a bench role in favour of playing Arno Botha at Blindside flank (No 7 in SA circles) and Dewald Potgieter moving to No 8, a position he has played before with distinction. Pierre Spies would have to show first, from the bench, that he deserves a starting spot, he has been rather ordinary for too long now. Similarly I would have used Jacques Potgieter as a bench and impact option, till he sorted his headless tackling out and used his focus much better to accompany his energy on the field.
Not many sides can boast 5 current Internationals in their Super Rugby ranks… bar the Sharks who also has tis problem of who to pick and who to bench.
One would have thought the Bulls might miss CJ Stander who has gone overseas, but just look at the lineup above and with Adendorf and Liebenberg coming through at pace from the Under 20 ranks and you have to believe that the Bulls probably have the strongest core group of Loose Forwards in the whole Super Rugby Competition.
Now only for the Bulls coaching staff to use these Loose Forwards wisely and the way they should be utilised… and it could become a long season for the other Super Rugby sides.
The next Article in the range will deal with the Bulls Scrum Halves.