The 5th Article in the set discussing the Vodacom Bulls.
In this Article we look at the contenders for SCRUMHALVES in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
Name: Francois Hougaard:
Francois Hougaard was born in Paarl and matriculated at Paul Roos Gymnasium.
His primary position is scrumhalf, but in recent times he has been deployed on the wing for the Bulls and Springboks. His first tour with the Springboks was to France, Italy, Ireland and England in late 2009 where he played in one test against Italy on 21 November 2009 and two touring matches. Hougaard won the Currie Cup in 2009, and the Super rugby title in 2010, scoring tries in both finals.
In the 2011 Super Rugby season, he showed great promise, adapting to his self proclaimed preferred position of scrumhalf in the absences of Fourie Du Preez, very well, and as a result, landed a position in the Springbok World Cup Squad for 2011 tournament.
He is by far one of the most destructive runners in Super Rugby and many local pundits rate him as the best left winger and best scrumhalf in the country. The Bulls will almost certainly use him in both roles and although the strongly built player indicated his preference to the nine jumper, his love and ability in scoring tries while roaming the field on attack could see Hougaard play on the wing often.
In 2012 Francois Hougaard blew hot and cold, eventually being unseated as scrumhalf at the Springboks by Ruan Pienaar (who did not have a wonderful international season himself either). Francois was moved to left wing again for the Springboks, where once again he had a solid but not spectacular run. Jano Vermaak is chasing Francois Hougaard hard for a starting spot at scrumhalf, so Francois must forget about his new Audi and the girls chasing his pants and buckle down in 2013.
Give him a jersey with any number on the back en he will play there… and will excel. Just make sure that the jersey is a Bulls one!
Name: Jano Vermaak:
A fiery presence at the base of the scrum, the former Golden Lions scrumhalf possesses all of the classic attributes of a scrumhalf. Quick and intelligent, he also has a competitive streak a mile wide.
For the under-achieving MTN Lions he had been a vital presence in making them competitive at Super Rugby level.
A former South Africa Under 21 international, full Springbok honours have as yet eluded him but in 2012 he was called up to the Springbok squad for bth The Rugby Championship as well as the End Of Year Tour by the Springboks to the Northern Hemisphere. Following a brilliant season in 2009 he represented the Emerging Springboks against the British & Irish Lions at Newlands in Cape Town, helping to secure a dramatic 13-13 draw.
He was a decent bet for Springbok honours on the Springbok 2009 tour to the northern hemisphere but Vermaak was ruled out of contention with a season-ending injury.
Vermaak moved from the Lions to the Blue Bulls during the domestic Currie Cup season in 2011 and immediately made an impact with the Pretoria side. His experience behind the pack will be invaluable for the Bulls in 2013 and his crisp passing, great sniping around the fringes and astute tactical kicking will keep his forwards in the game. He is also a valuable stand-in kicker and good leader.
- 2004 – Lions Under 20
- 2005 – SA IRB Sevens player in New Zealand
- 2006 – Golden Cats, SA Under 21, Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup
- 2007 – Lions Super Rugby, SA Emerging Springboks, Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup
- 2008 – Lions Super Rugby, Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup
- 2009 – Lions Super Rugby, SA Emerging Springboks (British & Irish Lions Tour, score was 13 / 13), Lions (British & Irish Lions Tour, Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup
- 2010 – Golden Lions Lions Vodacom Cup, Lions Super Rugby, Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup
- 2011 – Lions Super Rugby, Golden Lions Currie Cup, Blue Bulls ABSA Currie Cup
- 2012 – Bulls Super Rugby, Blue Bulls Currie Cup, Springbok squad member (Castle Incoming Tour by England, The Rugby Championship and End Of Year Tour)
Name: Rudy Paige:
Rudy Paige played for the SWD Eagles at various youth tournaments but moved to the Golden Lions in 2007.
He is a former SA Schools captain, joined the Blue Bulls at the start of the 2012 Currie Cup season.
He is truly nippy, with excellent hands and I expect him to make progress at the Bulls, more often than not surpassing Ruan Snyman.
- 2005 – SWD (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
- 2006 – SWD (Under 18 Academy Week)
- 2007 – Golden Lions (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week), SA Schools (captain), Golden Lions (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
- 2008 – Golden Lions (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
- 2009 – South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Golden Lions (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
- 2010 – Golden Lions (Vodacom Cup), Golden Lions (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
- 2011 – Golden Lions (Vodacom Cup), UJ (FNB Varsity Cup), MTN Golden Lions (ABSA Currie Cup)
- 2012 – UJ (FNB Varsity Cup), MTN Golden Lions (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
Name: Ruan Snyman:
Playing behind two incumbent Springboks could force players to look elsewhere for opportunities, but the nippy Snyman decided to stay put and use his limited opportunities to the best of his abilities. A sniping service, sound kicking game and tactical awareness helped him embrace the chances that came his way, but with Fourie du Preez and Francois Hougaard away on World Cup duty a shoulder injury curtailed his participation in the 2011 Currie Cup.
Ruan started at the Leopards where he played in the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in 2004 before moving to the Blue Bulls where he once again played Under 18 Craven Week in 2005.
His play varies between the sublime and the absolute ordinary, he would have to work really hard on his consistency in 2013.
- 2004 – Leopards (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
- 2005 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
- 2006 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
- 2007 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls XV (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies)
- 2008 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
- 2009 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
- 2010 – Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies, Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
- 2011 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
- 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
Name: Lohan Jacobs:
At youth level, he represented Blue Bulls at various levels, all the way from Under 13 Craven Week level in 2004 to Under 21 Currie Cup level in 2012.
He made his debut for the first team as a last-minute substitute in the Blue Bulls’ 35 – 7 defeat to Western Province in the 2011 Currie Cup Premier Division. He got his first start in Blue Bulls colours in the Vodacom Cup game against Griquas in 2012.
He also played for Tuks in the 2012 Varsity Cup, scoring three tries in eight appearances for the eventual champions.
He played for the South Africa Under 20 team at the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina.
- 2004 – Blue Bulls (Under 13 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
- 2007 – Blue Bulls (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
- 2008 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
- 2009 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
- 2010 – South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
- 2011 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
- 2012 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
The Bulls are virtually assured to start with Francois Hougaard and have Jano Vermaak on the bench but in selected games Hougaard could start on the left wing, giving Jano Vermaak a starting berth. Frans Ludeke has indicated however that he will use Francois Hougaard primarily as a scrumhalf.
I expect that Jano Vermaak WILL get game time every week though, the logical situation being that Francois Hougaard will be moved to left wing after 50 to 60 minutes in the game, allowing Bjorn Basson to either come off or move to fullback in place of Zane Kirchner, and Jano taking over as scrumhalf.
Rudy Paige should see some duty as rotation becomes more and more important in a long competition, whereas Ruan Snyman should only see duty if something drastic happens to either Francois Hougaard or Jano Vermaak or in a situation where Francois Hougaard is rested to be fresh enough for Springbok duty in June.
The next Article in the range will deal with the Bulls Flyhalves.