Vodacom-Red-VIP140x525

ABSA Currie Cup

Currie Cup Premier Division Unions

Cell C Sharks

**************

DHL WP

**************

Xerox Golden Lions

**************

Free State Cheetahs

**************

Vodacom Blue Bulls

**************

GWK Griquas Logo

**************

EP Kings

**************

Steval Pumas

Click on any of the pictures to go to that Union

This is the third article in the range of Bulls Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the Vodacom Bulls 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

 

 

The Contenders:

Name: Flip van der Merwe:

Position Locks
Height 1.98m
Weight 117kg
Date of Birth 6 June 1985
Place of Birth Potchefstroom
Provincial Debut 2006 for Free State
Provincial Caps 73
Provincial Points 35
Super Rugby Debut 2007 vs Chiefs
Super Rugby Caps 63
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut 2010 vs France
Test Caps 34 Plus 1 Tour match
Test Points 5
Flip van der Merwe

Flip is a product of Staatspresident Swart Primary School in Kimberley and also attended Grey College in and Univerityof the Free State in Bloemfontein.

Flip came through the Under 19 and Under 21 ranks at the Free State Cheetahs and then played both Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby for the Cheetahs before moving to the Blue Bulls and Bulls.

On 12 June 2010 he played his first Test for the Springboks against France. In 2009 Van der Merwe was recruited by the successful Super 14 team the Bulls. Prior to joining the Bulls and the Blue Bulls, Van der Merwe played his rugby for the Cheetahs. His father Flippie won six caps for South Africa from 1981 to 1989.

Flip van der Merwe narrowly missed out on selection for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, but in 2012 he has moved out of the shadows of Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw to make the Vodacom Bulls’ No 4 jersey his own. He is hard and abrasive and is one of the incumbant Springbok locks.

Flip is a Financial graduate and advisor off the field, enforcer and hard man on it. He will be very aware of the expectations of him delivering week after week. Abrasive, physical and a keen component in their driving mauls will again see the lock be an integral part of the Bulls power play in their forward pack.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – South Africa – IRB U19 World Championships, Free State – ABSA U20 Competition Section A
  • 2005 – Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2006 – Free State – Vodacom Cup, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2007 – Free State – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Free State – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom FS Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom FS Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Bulls – MTN test, Free State – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 20-12 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Tours, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Tours, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Outgoing Tours

Flip will be a sure Bulls lock starter, and is now equally adept at No 4 and No 5 lock.

 

Name: Paul Willemse:

Position Locks
Height 2.00m
Weight 127kg
Date of Birth 13 November 1992
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 20126 for MTN Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 11
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for MTN Lions vs Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 5
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Paul Willemse

Paul Willemse is a product of Boerefort Primary School and Monument High School.

He represented Namibia in the Craven Week in 2009 whereafter he joined the Golden Lions whom he represented at Under 19, Under 21, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby levels. He also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship in 2012.

In 2013 he represented Tuks at Varsity Cup and now also represents the Bulls in Super Rugby and the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup.

He made his Super Rugby debut for the Lions against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on 7 April 2012. The match ended in a 5–26 loss for the Lions.

In July 2013, the Blue Bulls announced that he signed a contract extension until 31 October 2014.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2009 – Namibia – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2010 – Lions – U18 Craven Week
  • 2011 – Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2012 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Tuks in Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

2014 Should be Paul Willemse’s rise to a regular Super Rugby starting position (if Victor Matfield does not return) and he certainly has the size to make him a force in Super Rugby.

 

Name: Grant Neil “Grant” Hattingh:

Position Locks
Height 2.01m
Weight 107kg
Date of Birth 3 October 1990
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2012 vs Griquas
Provincial Caps 16
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for MTN Lions vs Brumbies
Super Rugby Caps 21
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Grant Hattingh

Grant Hattingh is a product of Grey (PE) Primary School, Kingswood College, ETA (Exercise Teachers Academy) and University of Stellenbosch (Maties).

He 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 and 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. At the end of 2013, he signed a contract extension to tie him to the Blue Bulls until October 2016.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2009 – WP – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Maties – Varsity Cup, DHL WP – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies, WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Maties – Varsity Cup, DHL WP – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Grant has the ability to make it big in Super Rugby in 2014.

 

Name: David Bullbring:

Position Locks
Height 1.99m
Weight 113kg
Date of Birth 9 September 1992
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2007 for MTN Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 35
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2008 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 18
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
David Bullbring

David Bullbring is a product of Harvest Primary School, Alexander Road High School and the University of Johannesburg.

He was born in Port Elizabeth and represented Eastern Province at the 2007 Under 18 Craven Week. He then joined the Golden Lions, making his debut for the team in the 2009 Vodacom Cup.

In 2010, he represented both UJ in the Varsity Cup and Golden Lions in the 2010 Vodacom Cup, culminating a call-up to the Lions Super Rugby team, representing them in their final Super Rugby game of the season against the Cheetahs. He then played for the Golden Lions in the 2010 Currie Cup Premier Division.

He was Golden Lions captain for the 2011 Vodacom Cup competition and made 2 further Super Rugby appearances. He was then part of the squad that won the 2011 Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2012, he moved to the Eastern Province Kings. He made 7 appearances for them in the 2012 Vodacom Cup competition, as well as 1 against a South African Students side. He started all 14 matches in the 2012 Currie Cup First Division season, as well as both matches in the Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation matches against the Free State Cheetahs.

He was named in the Southern Kings squad for the 2013 Super Rugby season. He made his debut in the Southern Kings’ historic first ever match against the Force, helping them to a 22–10 victory. He played in all 16 matches during the season (being one of only three players to do so, Bandise Maku and Shaun Venter being the other two), as well as both the 2013 Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation matches against the Lions, making a total of 13 starts and 5 replacement appearances.

After the 2013 Super Rugby season, he joined the Blue Bulls, signing a contract at the team until October 2016.

He was a member of the S.A. Under-20 team that played at the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship. He was named in a South African Barbarians South team that faced England during the 2012 mid-year rugby test series.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Eastern Province – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Golden Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – UJ – Varsity Cup, Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – EP Kings – Vodacom Cup, SA Barbarians South – Castle Incoming Tours, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation
  • 2013 – Southern Kings – Vodacom Super Rugby, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, Southern Kings – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

David should also get regular Super Rugby game time in 2014

 

Name: Daniel Pieter “Reniel” Hugo:

Position Locks
Height 1.97m
Weight 112kg
Date of Birth 19 July 1990
Place of Birth Bellville
Provincial Debut 2011 for WP in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 2
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Reniel Hugo

Reniel Hugo is a product of Gene Louw Primary School, Paul Roos Gymnasium & the University of Stellenbosch.

He represented WP in the Under 18 Craven Week in 2008 and was part of the Under 18 Elite Squad. He has also represented WP at Under 19 and at Under 21 level and has played in 2 Vodacom Cup games for WP.

He has represented Maties in the Varsity Cup for 4 years, from 2010, where he has served with distinction.

In 2014 he will represent Tuks in the Varsity Cup and has been chosen as Tuks captain for the tournament.

He is due to break through to senior Blue Bulls and possibly Bulls Super Rugby at some juncture in 2014.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – WP – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Under 18 Elite Squad
  • 2009 – WP – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Maties – Varsity Cup, WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Maties – Varsity Cup, DHL WP – Vodacom Cup, DHL WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Maties – Varsity Cup
  • 2013 – Maties – Varsity Cup

 

Additional players:

It would be remiss not to include Victor Matfield as an additional possible player at lock for the Vodacom Bulls, as there has been a lot of rumours about his possible return to rugby in 2014, both for the Bulls and Springboks. We understand that the maestro’s possible return is subject to SARU also giving Victor Matfield a central Springbok contract.

Of course his pedigree in unmistakable and his experience sublime for any team. Victor is currently employed at the Bulls as forwards and defensive coach and strategist.

Reniel Hugo, who will be Tuks captain, also stands a chance to be called up to the Bulls squad if he performs well in the Varsity Cup.

 

Starters:

The Bulls are sure to start with Flip van der Merwe and Victor Matfield (if he returns to play) but all of Paul Willemse, Grant Hattingh and David Bullbring are sure to see some Super Rugby game time. Reniel Hugo could also act as backup lock.

 

The next Article in the range will deal with the Bulls loose forwards.

10 Responses to Super Rugby 2014: Bulls – Squad Contenders – Locks

  • 1

    Would be impressive if Reniel Hugo made the step up from Varisty cup to Super rugby. Knew he had been made Tuks captain but didn’t realize he was in Bulls squad for the Super rugby. I can’t have been paying enough attention as thought he was loose forward, possibly 8thman, in the Varisty Cup final, didn’t pick up that he was a lock so that is good news for the Bulls/Blue Bulls if we have him as another lock option.

  • 2

    Bullbring looks to be a beast, between him vd Merwe and Willemse we should be well covered at no 4 lock, just bit thin at no 5 then, so no wonder there is talk of wanting Matfield back, maybe also good to convert young loosie du Plessis to no 5 lock.

  • 3

    There are ALWAYS great locks at the Bulls, who is reknowned as SA’s lock factory… and in 2014 it will be no different!

    No problem here for the Bulls… and if Victor Matfield returns to play, even more so.

    I don’t think the Bulls or Bokke need Victor back and I hope sense prevails for him to concentrate on his coaching role at the Bulls.

  • 4

    1 @ Bullscot:
    Reniel Hugo is not named in the Bulls Super Rugby squad, but I added him as 5th option, because I rate him and one never knows what injuries will do in an abrasive position like lock in 1 Super Rugby season.

    Jacques du Plessis will do well to convert to a No 5 lock, I think it would suit him more than blindside flank.

  • 5

    4 @ grootblousmile:
    Hopefully Hugo steps up, did a quick dig and seems he didn’t play in the final guess injured, also found that he has indeed played 8thman as well but I guess we are quite well covered there so he probably will play lock at Tuks.

  • 6

    Bulls have the best depth at lock.

  • 7

    Bullring at 133kg. That must be a mistake.

    There’s no lineout specialist. Will Flip play 4 or 5? They have the best lineout coach in the world but no-one to teach. Don’t think they will be able to dominate the lineouts. Add to that hookers that struggle throwing the ball in, I can’t see lineouts as a strong weapon.

  • 8

    7 @ leon:
    Sorry, my mistake, it’s 113 kg, not 133kg… blame it on the festivities… hehehe

    Fixed it!

    The hookers are indeed a problem for the Bulls, hope the hookers practiced and practiced and will practice a lot before Super Rugby starts… we need them to be deadly accurate with their throws!

    I’m not so worried about where Flip plays, No 4 or 5… still have Willemse Hattingh and Bullbring as well.

    Let me put it this way, I am more worried about hookers, Bulls scrummaging and front row play, who will play flyhalf (and how well will he / they play) as well as fullback options for 2014.

  • 9

    @ grootblousmile:
    Jip, flyhalf and hooker are our biggest problems. If Callie Visage can only learn to throw in properly, I’ll be happy. He is very good in general play. A pack of Mellet, Visagie, Kirsten, Willemse, van der Merwe, Stegman, Botha and Spies will be able to hold there own. 4 lineout options, solid scrum, 2 fetchers and strong carriers. Very solid.

    Pollard must make a big step up. He did not impress me in the cc. Maybe it’s a confidence thing and he will be better with some senior players around him.

  • 10

    9 @ leon:
    Not sure Callie Visagie is our best bet at hooker… hoping all 3 hooker candidates fight it out to be the best possible… and that definately starts with lineout throwing!

    Wonder if Derick Hougaard is going to play flyhalf again… and whether he would shape. Also think Louis Fouché & Handré Pollard will have to radically improve, otherwise I see big problems.

    I agree with you, starting with Mellet & Kirsten as starting props and with Flip and Willemse as locks.

    I hope Deon Stegmann, Arno Botha & Pierre Spies are well over their injuries and also hope Vleis Engelbrecht is fit and ready!


SAAAC


Bam Advert


Bornman Graphic