In the first week of discussion of Super Rugby squad contenders (17 to 23 December), we will discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.
That means 10 Super Rugby Articles every week from now on.
The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Name: Dean MacGyver Greyling “Wors”:
Two years ago Greyling was a back-up prop to Gurthrö Steenkamp at the Bulls, but with the latter now in Toulouse, Greyling used that opportunity to cast his own shadow. Powerful with ball in hand and very strong in the scrum, yet with some serious flaws in his scrumming technique, he impressed a lot of people in 2011 and 2012. He made a lasting yet very dubious impression when called upon for Test match duty, specially when he cleared Richie McCaw illegally from a ruck earning him a deserved Yellow Card and then subsequently being dropped from Springbok contention.
Dean ‘MacGyver’ Greyling was one of the stars of the 2004 Craven Week competition and if he could sort out his wayward scrumming technique and propensity for stupidity he could 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 Rugby and was selected to start at loosehead prop for the Springboks on their Tri- Nations tour against Australia and New Zealand in 2011.
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.
- 2012: Blue Bulls (Super Rugby & Springbok)
- 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)
For me personally, Dean’s shares have plumeted as far as I’m concerned, and I expect him to work hard on his shortcomings and rectify a lot of those in 2013.
Greyling is a very hard strike runner and is a very busy player in the loose and at ruck and maul time. Expecting an improved year from the “Wors”.
Name: Werner Kruger:
Kruger has improved season upon season but with a bit of a slump in 2012 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 might be in serious contention for Springbok selection in 2012.
Name: Frik Kirsten:
After some time away from the game recovering from a neck operation and university studies, Kirsten wass finally ready for rugby on the big stage in 2012. 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!
Name: Marcel van der Merwe:
This hardy tighthead prop has moved from The Toyota Free State Cheetahs to join the Bulls for the 2013 season and beyond.
Marcel is very versatile and could push Werner Kruger very hard if not surpass him in 2013 already.
He represented Western Province in the Grant Khomo Week in 2006 and graduated to the Western Province Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week side in 2008, then moved to the Free State where he played in the ABSA Under 19 Competition in 2009. In 2010 He played for Shimlas in the FNB Varsity Cup, for the Free State Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup and for the Junior Bokke in the IRB Junior World Championships. 2010 was a good year for Marcel because he also played for the Free State Cheetahs in some Currie Cup friendlies, the ABSA Under 21 Competition and the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.
In 2011 he played for the Free State Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup and in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.
2012 Was his break-through year and he represented the Toyota Cheetahs in Super Rugby, the Vodacom Cup, the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division and also in the Promotion / Relegation games against the EP Kings.
If progress is an indication, then Marcell will continue to improve in 2013 and cement his place in the Bulls Super Rugby side. The aquisition of higher National honours for the Springboks is not beyond his possible reach.
Name: Dawie Steyn:
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 wanted to be at the Bulls in 2012. He gave some of the foremost Currie Cup and Super Rugby props a very hard time in 2011 and continued this good form in 2012 at the Bulls. 2013 Will be his 2nd season back in Pretoria and he adds vital and solid depth at prop for the Bulls.
He signed a two-year contract with the Blue Bulls, late 2011 and will play for the Bulls at least untill the end of 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.
Name: Morné Mellett:
Morné is a versatile prop who has battled injuries in the last couple of seasons. Drafted into the Vodacom Bulls 2012 touring squad to Australasia, although he did not play. He joined the Blue Bulls out of school and came through the structures well. Former Valke Craven Week and Vodacom Cup for Blue Bulls.
After representing the Falcons at several youth tournaments, he joined the Blue Bulls in 2010.
He made his first team debut for the Blue Bulls in the 2010 Vodacom Cup, coming on as a substitute in their game against his former team, the Falcons. He made several appearances in this competition over the next three seasons and finally made his Currie Cup debut in the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division against the Free State Cheetahs.
He also played for Tuks in the 2010 and 2011 Varsity Cup competitions.
In the wider Super Rugby training group we also find Juan Schoeman, Basil Short & Hencus van Wyk.
The Bulls are virtually assured to start with their two frontline props, who are both recent Springboks, Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger. There is reason however that the two in the saddle should pull out all the stops, seeing as both did not have a stellar 2012 season. Marcel van der Merwe and Frik Kirsten will knock hardest at the door to supercede the 2 Bulls Springboks and make the positions their own.
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.