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Bulls

Roelof Smit

Roelof Smit

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke handed flanker Roelof Smit a first time starting berth in announcing his team to play the Melbourne Rebels at Loftus Versfeld on Friday. Smit debuted for the Vodacom Bulls from the bench against the DHL Stormers last weekend and now start in the number six jersey in one of seven changes to the starting line-up.

Jurgen Visser is back at fullback, having recovered from an abductor strain that kept him out of the Newlands clash and replace Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard will play on the wing, replacing the injured Akona Ndungane, with Piet van Zyl starting at scrumhalf. With Grant Hattingh injured, Jacques Engelbrecht will move back to No 8, Jono Ross moves to 7 and Smit slots in at 6.

Ludeke also changed his front row. Marcel van der Merwe will start at tighthead, Bandise Maku gets a rare start at hooker and Mornè Mellett will start at loose head for the first time this season.

They replace Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie and Dean Greyling, who will all start off the bench. Ludeke also included Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg on the bench and should he get a run, the Junior Springbok lock will make his Vodacom Bulls debut. Jesse Kriel is also on the bench for the first time at this level.

“We have nothing to lose, so decided to give some youngsters a run. Injury also played a role in team selection. We want to end the season well and although our final log position will not be where we wanted, there is no reason why we cannot close out our campaign with a fine performance,” Ludeke said.

 

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Jono Ross, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Victor Matfield (Captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Morné Mellett
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Dean Greyling, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Marvin Orie, 21 Jesse Kriel, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 William-Small Smith.

 

Milestones:

  •  Frans Ludeke will become the most experienced coach at Vodacom Super Rugby level and will be in charge of a Vodacom Super Rugby team for the 132nd time. This include 108 with the Vodacom Bulls (2008-2014) and 23 with the Cats (2002; 2006).
  • Victor Matfield will captain the team for the 82nd time, also a record for a Vodacom Super Rugby captain. His 138th appearance is also a South African record in the competition and his 130th appearance for the Vodacom Bulls a franchise record.

 

Date: Friday 11 July
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-Off: 19:10 SA Time (03:10 Sunday AEST, 17:10 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, Sieg van Staden
TMO: Johan Greeff

8 Responses to Super Rugby: Bulls change 7 for Rebels clash

  • 1

    I bit of the topic but i read this on SS and wondered if there was ever a Indian rugby player in any SA team?

    “It quite simple really… if you can’t play rugby then you will not be chosen for ANY rugby team, no matter what race you are. I have never seen an Indian play rugby but if I am the coach of a rugby team and an Indian guy comes and tries out for my team and he is an excellent player then I will embrace that and select him. Does it mean I am racist if he is not good enough and I do not select him? No, absolutely not! But that is what SARU and other sports organizations think in SA, and they need to wake up and realize that you don’t select a player for the colour of his skin, but for the skills that he has”

  • 2

    superBul wrote:

    I bit of the topic but i read this on SS and wondered if there was ever a Indian rugby player in any SA team?

    “It quite simple really… if you can’t play rugby then you will not be chosen for ANY rugby team, no matter what race you are. I have never seen an Indian play rugby but if I am the coach of a rugby team and an Indian guy comes and tries out for my team and he is an excellent player then I will embrace that and select him. Does it mean I am racist if he is not good enough and I do not select him? No, absolutely not! But that is what SARU and other sports organizations think in SA, and they need to wake up and realize that you don’t select a player for the colour of his skin, but for the skills that he has”

    There were a few good Indian rugby players at school with me.

  • 3

    Ludeke only risks adventure now that the season is over… a lot of hype about smit… whether it will be justified im unsure.

    btw both adriaan strauss and lappies coming over the the bulls is great for the bulls l. terrible for the cheets… there is something seriously wrong in the free state union. it is clearly not a case of moving to increase bok selection. There needs to be big changes there.

  • 4

    Propably the best summary I have seen on the woes at the Bulls:

    Death and taxes are the only two certainties in life, they say. We reckon Bulls rugby must have come awfully close to making that list.

    It was another stellar year for the men from Pretoria in this regard.

    In what was a topsy-turvy season for everyone else, they kept their fortress Versveld unbreached, winning every match played in front of their faithful fans. What is more, they lost every single time they set foot outside the Loftus gate, with even the 50km trip down the N1 being a step too far for them this year.

    We were very surprised then to hear coach Frans Ludeke’s take on 2014 after his team once again travelled to a loss this past Saturday.

    “Consistency is what cost us this season. We weren’t consistent every weekend this season…”

    What? There are a lot of things you weren’t but consistent isn’t one of them.

    Just look at the stats. Your team scored the second fewest tries in the competition and ranked stone last in all of the following categories*:
    - Clean breaks
    - Metres gained
    - Defenders beaten
    - Offloads

    How did you manage that without being consistently bad?

    Pretty much nothing we’ve seen on the field this year was as dependable as the Bulls lineout. Statistically theirs was the competition’s best by far. But was all that investment in tall timber worth it? Let this help you answer it for yourself: the three matches in which they stole the most lineout ball were all lost.

    If only some of that time, effort and especially selections were aimed at fixing their breakdown woes. Overall their ruck success percentage was third worst of all the teams, but outside Pretoria that worsened significantly with the team averaging seven turnovers on the ground per match.

    If you want to know why their results list looks like Moses hit it with a stick, look no further than the way in which they failed to look after their own ball in contact when on the road.

    The most consistent aspect of Bulls rugby this season, however, was their response to losses. Pretty much every defeat was met with a well-rehearsed “We executed poorly”.

    It’s been the standard excuse since they last made it to a major final in 2010.

    Let’s discuss it then. If for four years your players fail to execute one of the simplest game-plans in the competition, something has to be wrong with either the players chosen or the game-plan that is forced on them.

    Is it the talent at their disposal? Well, consider the example of Waratahs flank Jacques Potgieter. Nothing more than an honest crash-baller and a decent lineout option when trained in Pretoria, he blossomed into a gap-seeking, offloading, ruck cleaning all-rounder worth three of his former self in just one season under Australian tutelage.

    The Bulls have three squads worth of Potgieters at their disposal. They just don’t know what to do with them.

    “We executed poorly.” That’s like criticising a tightead prop for not breaking the school’s high-jump record, noting only that he didn’t bend his back enough.

    The fact is the Bulls are physically incapable of playing the game that is asked of them. Their whole game-plan requires physical dominance of contact situations, but they don’t have a single player available to them that is capable of providing that on a regular basis.

    Take their team-list and put it next to the competition’s 14 others and you’ll soon realise that in terms of physical impact they’ll rank right about where they are lying on the log.

    What the Bulls do have, however, is a structure that feeds them the country’s best young talent year after year. At every age-group and in every position they have a player that has the potential to become a great. Most of that talent is just spat out by the Bulls machine because no one there knows how to unlock it.

    One shudders to think what a feeder system like the Bulls’ could have produced if, like Jac Pot, it landed in the hands of someone whose main aim is to up-skill and empower talented players.

    What the Bulls need to realise is that it is no use sitting on a gold mine if all you’re looking to unearth is bulky quarry stones.

    It is ironic that the Bulls would blame a lack of consistency for their woes, when it is actually their same old same old mentality that caused it; that a lack of execution is pointed out when it’s a lack of imagination that is at fault.

    One thing will remain consistent for as long as the Bulls continue to force every bit of talent at their disposal into a size-dependant mould that is becoming increasingly obsolete in the age of professional rugby: a lack of results.

    The only way forward for those in charge is to start digging. Find that gold, polish it and don’t ever use it only to coat the blunt end of a hammer.

    Source: – http://www.supersport.com/rugby/super-rugby/news/140709/Weve_herd_it_all_before_Bulls

  • 5

    @ Gena_ZA:
    Read that, pretty good article.

    Then again looking at the skill levels across all our competitive teams this year?

    How many times have we heard AC say, “We executed poorly.”

    How well do the Sharks or Stormers? “Their whole game-plan requires physical dominance of contact situations,”

    One thing I will agree with though is the troubles at the breakdown and the sentiment that, “The Bulls have three squads worth of Potgieters at their disposal. They just don’t know what to do with them.” Who? the last crop who played is Grant Hattingh at 8 (who has a 50/50% chance of catching a ball), Jacque Engelbrecht (who has been nowhere nearly as effective as last year), Ross (forced to play a roll he can’t). Jacque dup was probably our best loosie this year (but still lacks the punch of players we have had the last decade( but he will grow)

    It is difficult to compete without players like Stegman, Botha, Potgieter and even spies who can make the Bulls a different beast.

    In hindsight Ludeke should have given Roelof Smit a chance earlier in the season to see what he can do. It is impossible to play the “simplest game plan in the competition” when every ruck is a lottery.

  • 6

    @ Gena_ZA:
    Also the Lions have scored the least tries the Bulls have scored the second fewest tries, sharks the third least, stormers the fifth least, while the Cheetahs have conceded the most.

    Lol ridiculous how biased that article is now that I think about it.

  • 7

    Bet you if the same analysis was to be done on the others it would be equally bad.

    Fact remains this is about the steady decline from 2010 and the unwillingness of the head coach to employ the right personal and change from what worked before. It stinks of the lack of insight and the ignorance of what is in front of you and the hardegatgeid to change (for the better of the Union).
    Mattfield will be head coach is 2 years, only then will things change for the better.

  • 8

    @ Gena_ZA:
    Does that mean all of our teams are in decline?

    The thing is in 2010 the bulls were higher than the other local teams have ever been before. Over the last 10 years, this is only the third time we have not been able to make the play offs, The decline was inevitable.

    Not too confident Matfield could get us back to those heights so soon,


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