Vodacom Blue BullsVodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar included four Absa Currie Cup novices in his team to play defending champions DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday in his team’s opening match of the 2013 competition.

Travis Ismaiel, Tony Jantjies, Jacques du Plessis and Wiaan Liebenberg all return to the venue of massive significance to them.

Ismaiel, Jantjies and Liebenberg were members of the Junior Springbok team who won the IRB Junior World Championship at this venue just under a year ago, whilst 2013 Junior Bok Du Plessis made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands a month ago.

Former Vodacom Cup leader Jono Ross will be leading the team in his debut run-on appearance for the Blue Bulls Currie Cup side. He played off the bench twice in 2011.

Paul Willemse, Callie Visagie (both MTN Golden Lions), Waylon Murray (EP Kings) and Marcell van der Merwe (Toyota Free State) will make their Currie Cup debuts for the Blue Bulls, but have played for other teams earlier in their careers.

Only five players – Francois Venter, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Frik Kirsten, Willie Wepener and Mornè Mellett remain from the team that played in the Blue Bulls last Currie Cup match in 2012, the semi-final against The Sharks in Durban.

“We are excited about the potential of our team. We do have a lot of younger players and Newlands is a severe test to even an experienced player, but if ever there was a time to justify the structures and depth at the union, this it is,” Pienaar said.

“We have a lot of faith in our structures and the younger players have all proved themselves. There is also a good core of experience, so we are looking forward to a good Currie Cup season. To start away against the defending champions is a very tough ask, but if we want to reach the top, we must embrace and accept all challenges,” Pienaar said.


Vodacom Blue Bulls (with number of Currie Cup caps): 15 Jürgen Visser (22), 14 Sampie Mastriet (2), 13 Ulrich Beyers (5), 12 Francois Venter (22), 11 Travis Ismaiel(0), 10 Tony Jantjies(0), 9 Rudy Paige (4), 8 Jono Ross (2, Captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis(0), 6 Wiaan Liebenberg(0), 5 Grant Hattingh (8), 4 Paul Willemse (1), 3 Frik Kirsten (25), 2 Willie Wepener (85), 1 Morné Mellet (5).

Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie (18), 17 Marcell van der Merwe (25), 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp (85), 19 Jean Cook (3), 20 Ruan Snyman (19), 21 Waylon Murray (71), 22 Clayton Blommetjies (5).

25 Responses to Currie Cup: Bulls announce young and inexperienced team to face WP at Newlands

  • 1

    Eish… not a strong side, not at all!

    The only big positive is that Morné Mellet and Frik Kirsten are the starting props and not Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger!

    Tight 5 is OK, loosies are OK’ish… backline gives me the hibby-jibbies!

  • 2

    I fear the Currie Cup is going to be loooong for the Blue Bulls!

  • 3

    @ grootblousmile:
    I have to agree with you. Bulls will be lucky if they don’t play in promo/relegation this year. My money will be on the Cheetahs to win the Cup. They have a near full super 15 side.

  • 4

    Whoow what a team.

    In the run on team i remember only this 2 players who played more than 5 games for the Blue Bulls
    15 Jürgen Visser (22),
    12 Francois Venter (22)
    Frik Kirsten maybe? Cant remember him starting for the bulls in 25 games, if he is a true Blue almost all his games will be from the bench anyway.

    14 Sampie Mastriet (2), 13 Ulrich Beyers (5), 11 Travis Ismaiel(0), 10 Tony Jantjies(0), 9 Rudy Paige (4), 8 Jono Ross (2, Captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis(0), 6 Wiaan Liebenberg(0), 5 Grant Hattingh (8), 4 Paul Willemse (1), 3 Frik Kirsten (25), 2 Willie Wepener (85), 1 Morné Mellet (5).

    Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie (18), 17 Marcell van der Merwe (25), 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp (85), 19 Jean Cook (3), 20 Ruan Snyman (19), 21 Waylon Murray (71), 22 Clayton Blommetjies (5).

    With this “laslappie ” team i hope we play a total new game plan, use it like a Vodacom tournament and develop some new tricks. I would even be happy to start with massive losses. If we play a Barbarian type of game and it works , well at least we will learn something out of this.

    But then again before this years S15 NO one thought the Bulls would top the SA Conference after all the departures last year.

    For the first time i picked the WP by 10 on Superbru against my team, come on Blue Bulls “maak my naam gat”

  • 5

    @ leon:
    If we do, i would take it on the chin and hope we do what the Cheetahs did after that, in the Superugby competition.

  • 6

    The Bulls are being captained by a soutie?

  • 7

    kan die cappie darrem se skop pale mnr rev

  • 8

    6 @ Loosehead:
    Jono Ross will be the 1st English speaking player to captain the Blue Bulls in Currie Cup… ever.

    He will though only be the 3rd English speaking Blue Bulls captain of all time, with Roger Sheriff in 1938 and later Billy Griffiths also captained the Blue Bulls.

    Now if we start losing badly, who do we blame?


  • 9

    Expect a 30 point snotting.

  • 10

    8 @ grootblousmile:
    You got a very good memory GBS didn’t know that about the other two guys – bit before my time Happy

  • 11

    6 @ Loosehead:
    Just a pity apparently we losing the other ‘soutie’ to the Sharks – u19′s coach Paul Anthony, although he is still with us as I see the Blue Bull u19 team announcement still mentioned him as the coach.

  • 12

    4 @ superBul:
    I didn’t know till I read the other day that Francois Venter is off to the Free State, is this true? Think it may be after the Currie Cup. That will be a pity as he is a good young player who was given game time and so has a little bit of experience just a pity got injured and couldn’t play as much this Super 15. Wonder when the decision was made, maybe after Ebersohn signalled his intention to leave Bloemfontein? I know we lost Wynand Olivier but was Venter’s future departure the trigger to bring in Waylon Murray or did Venter know of the Murray move and decide as a result to go?

  • 13

    12 @ Bullscot:
    Yip, Swys Venter will join the Cheetahs after the Currie Cup.

    I think it was Robert Ebersohn’s move to Montpellier which prompted the chance for Venter to become maybe a regular starter in Super Rugby, in stead of sitting in the queue behind Jan Serfontein.

  • 14

    13 @ grootblousmile:
    Ok thanks for confirming that GBS. Its a pity as we need to have depth in all our positions and it can’t become a merry-go-round where players just stay for a short time and move on “to get more game time” Venter did get a good amount of game time last year – even when he was the young rookie and lost out due to injury this year. With so much rugby there will always be a bit of rotation in a squad so sure he would still have got a lot of game time. Will be odd to see two Blue Bulls players in the centre for Free State next season, not bad for a team that is only meant to play forward orientated 10 man rugby ;-)

  • 15

    13 @ grootblousmile:
    I wasn’t sure of the order of how things happened, so it was good of our recruiters to get Waylon Murray in at this stage.

  • 16

    While it is old news that Jaques Engelbrecht is joining the Bulls just seen an announcement of this from the Blue Bulls as well as the arrival of David Bullbring and return of Bandise Maku – available ‘immediately’ (ok maybe not for this weekend but certainly next weekend if selected as it says they join Blue Bulls Sunday 11 August)

  • 17

    Engelbrecht Bullbring and Maku have signed on for longer than 3 years; until October 2016

  • 18

    15 @ Bullscot:
    Man, I’m not a Waylon Murray fan… he runs sideways, is often injured… and has become a regular travelling salesman.

    What the Bulls management sees in him only they know! To me that is a dumb signing, to say the least.

  • 19

    18 @ grootblousmile:
    Oeps maybe not such a good idea then, just remember from a while back he was a good physical centre, maybe his experience is what they are after with so many youngsters around.

  • 20

    @ grootblousmile:
    If you have whatsapp on your phone I can try and send you some pictures from tonight ‘live’, please can you email me your number as not sure what I done with it. Really hoping to go there tonight.

  • 21

    19 @ Bullscot:
    Let’s critically look at the Bulls / Blue Bulls for a few moments…

    At hooker they are OK: Willie Wepener, Bandise Maku, Callie Visagie.

    At Props they are heading towards OK: Morné Mellet, Frik Kirsten and Marcell van der Merwe is the future… with Werner Kruger still a bench option. Dean Greyling needs to depart though.

    At Lock we’re OK again: Flip van der Merwe, Grant Hattingh, David Bullbring & Paul Willemse will be good enough for Super Rugby… mentored by Victor Matfield.

    Looseforward: We are in an immediate conundrum but should be fine for 2014: Deon Stegmann, Wiaan Liebenberg, Arno Botha, Vleis Engelbrecht, Jean Cook, Jono Ross & Pierre Spies.

    Scrumhalves is an immediate problem but should be fine for 2014: Francois Hougaard, Piet van Zyl, Rudi Paige, Ruan Snyman.

    Left wing a bit light at the moment but OK for 2014: Bjorn Basson, Travis Ismaiel.

    Flyhalf is where the immediate gap is and ideally we needed a Catrakilis there now: Handré Pollard, Tony Jantjies, Tiaan Snyman and after his long term injury Louis Fouché. Tony Jantjies is a stop gap and has never been exceptional or a longer term solution. We need to develop Tiaan Snyman and Handré Pollard into world beaters. Willie du Plessis from Tuks has gone and signed for the Lions.

    Centre is a bit rocky now but fine for 2014: Jan Serfontein, JJ Engelbrecht, Francois Venter (just for the Currie Cup), Ulrich Beyers, Dries Swanepoel, Waylon Murray & Burger Odendaal.

    Right wing is becoming a problem: Akona Ndungane is not cutting the musterd anymore, Sampie Mastriet is a bit light and frail on defence, Cournal Skosan might make it.

    Fullback cupboard is a bit threadbare: Jurgen Visser – there but not quite the solution, Clayton Blommetjies – bit light and prone to some dumb shit at times, Jesse Kriel at the Under 21′s

  • 22

    20 @ Bullscot:
    No, I refuse to use whatsapp… I hate texting with a passion and would rather phone someone than answer a SMS.

    Just mail me the pics… hehehe

  • 23

    22 @ grootblousmile:
    Much quicker to ‘whatsapp’ them than email you shouldn’t be so resistant to new technology Tounge-Out

  • 24

    23 @ Bullscot:
    Nee flokkit tjom… the eyes are too shoddy for the little Samsung Galaxy touchbuttons and the fingers are too thick and cumbersome for those little buttons too… and that’s considering that the SAMSUNG Galaxy S3 & S4 have massive buttons compared to the freeging Blackberry shit.

    To me, a phone has 5 functions… Phone, Alarm Clock, Voice Recorder, Bluetooth Handsfree Connector with the Beemer…. and throwing impliment in case of dire emergency…. hehehe

  • 25

    @ grootblousmile:
    Tony Jantjies, hehehehehe!
    All he needs is a tattoo to match that hairstyle Crazy-Tounge
    If I had known he was playing this Saturday I would have picked WP, too late now.
    No hell, this oukie is seriously useless, nog kukker as sy boetie.


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