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Herewith the Vodacom Bulls squad members and contenders for Super Rugby 2013:

 

Props:

Name: Dean MacGyver Greyling “Wors”:

Position Prop
Height 1.86
Weight 120
Date of Birth January 01 1986
Place of Birth Potgietersrus
Provincial Debut 2005
Provincial Caps 31
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Lions
Super Rugby Caps 30
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut 2011 v Australia
Test Caps 3
Test Points 0

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.

Rugby Career:

  • 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:

Position Prop
Height 1.89
Weight 117 kg
Date of Birth January 23 1985
Place of Birth Kempton Park
Provincial Debut 2007
Provincial Caps 79
Provincial Points 30
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 75
Super Rugby Points 30
Test Debut 2011 v Australia
Test Caps 4
Test Points 0

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:

Position Prop
Height 1.92
Weight 120 kg
Date of Birth September 18 1988
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2009 v WP
Provincial Caps 25
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2009 v Blues
Super Rugby Caps 15
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0

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:

Position Prop
Height 1.89
Weight 121
Date of Birth 21 October 1990
Place of Birth Welkom
Provincial Debut 2011 for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 36
Provincial Points 80
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for the Toyota Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 3
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
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:

Position Prop
Height 1.89
Weight 119
Date of Birth January 05 1984
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2008 v EP (Pumas)
Provincial Caps 50
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
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:

Position Prop
Height 1.85
Weight 115
Date of Birth October 02 1989
Place of Birth Boksburg
Provincial Debut 2012 v Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 5
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 Bulls touring squad
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0

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.

Starters:

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.

 

 

Hookers:

Name: Mahlatse “Chiliboy” Ralepelle:

Position Hooker
Height 1.80
Weight 106
Date of Birth 11 September 1986
Place of Birth Tzaneen
Provincial Debut 2006 v Pumas
Provincial Caps 26
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2006 v Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 52
Super Rugby Points 10
Test Debut 2006 v New Zealand
Test Caps 21
Test Points 5

After a full season of Super Rugby in 2011, South Africans finally understood the hype that surrounded Ralepelle as a star at junior levels. Injuries seemed to be a thing of the past and the well-spoken player was revelling because of that in Super Rugby 2012. Towards the business end of 2012 Chiliboy was injured again and having gotten over his injuries toured to the Northern Hemisphere with the Springboks. He however did not get game time on tour, suggesting there was still a niggle or two and / or the National coach was worried about his form.

Immensely strong in the scrums and deceptively quick in open play, Ralepelle will be keen to establish himself again as one of the foremost hookers in the country.

He made his Bulls and Springboks debut in the same year. Indeed, just a few months after making his debut for his province in 2006, he won his first international cap as a replacement at his home ground at Loftus Versfeld. However, despite his rapid ascent up the rugby ladder, he could not force his way into the World Cup squad the following year.

In 2008, though, he was named on the tour of the UK and Ireland and made history when he became the youngest and the first black player to captain the Springboks when they met the World XV at Walkers Stadium in Leicester.

The following year he was named in the South Africa squad to play the British & Irish Lions and he started the third Test in Johannesburg, which resulted in a 28-9 defeat for the home side.

Ralepelle was included in the Springbok squad for their end-of-year tour of Great Britain and Ireland in 2010 but both he and Bjorn Basson were sent home after testing positive for a banned stimulant following the victory over Ireland in Dublin. Both players were immediately suspended from all rugby pending further investigation.

 

Name: Willie Wepener:

Position Hooker
Height 1.79
Weight 108
Date of Birth 2 April 1981
Place of Birth Newcastle
Provincial Debut 2002 Lions v Eastern Province
Provincial Caps 85
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut 2006 v Blues (Cats)
Super Rugby Caps 53
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0

Wepener is one of the real warriors in the game and after an impressive Super 14 season with the Lions in 2009, was scouted by French champions Clermont for their Top 14 and Heineken Cup campaigns. Aggressive, mobile and with a high work rate, Wepener will be in demand everywhere and it was no surprise to see the Bulls jumping at the chance to bring the veteran hooker back to South Africa.

Willie is solid enough as a Super Rugby player but all indications are that he’ll play second fiddle to Chiliboy Ralepelle in the battle for a starting berth.

Springbok prospects for Willie Wepener is hardly likely, there are just too many quality hookers in South Africa ahead of him in the queue for that to happen. His experience in Super Rugby and in the hard forward-oriented battles in the Northern Hemisphere for Clermont will stand the Bulls in good stead in the coming months.

 

Name: Bongi Mbonambi:

Position Hooker
Height 1.76
Weight 99
Date of Birth 7 January 1991
Place of Birth Bethlehem
Provincial Debut 2012 vs Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 3
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 vs Crusaders
Super Rugby Caps 2
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Bongi Mbonambi

The youngster, who has distinguished himself in the SA Under 20 squad in 2011 and before that for 2 years at SA Schools level got the opportunity to play Provincial and very limited Super Rugby in 2012.

It is clear which way the career of this Eastern Free State born player is heading. Very strong and mobile with a low centre of gravity, Mbonambi could be the surprise package of the 2013 Super Rugby season.

 

Name: Callie-Theron (Callie) Visagie:

Position Hooker
Height 1.88
Weight 108
Date of Birth 9 July 1988
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2010 for Western Province
Provincial Caps 19
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for the MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 16
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Callie Visagie

He represented the MTN Lions in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup in 2012. He previously played for Western Province in 2010 and 2011 and captained Maties in the Varsity Cup.

Callie is a product of Paarl Boys High School.

In a struggeling MTN Lions Super Rugby side, Callie was steady without being spectacular and is one of the MTN Lions loan players at the Bulls for Super Rugby 2013.

 

Additional players

The players named and described above does not include the regular Vodacom Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup hookers or the Blue Bulls U/21 hookers, but as I’ve said before, I will limit discussion to players who WILL feature in Super Rugby in 2013.

 

Starters:

The Bulls are virtually assured to start with Chiliboy Ralepelle, with Willie Wepener on the bench. Callie Visagie and Bongi Mbonambi will fight for a bench spot as rotation in Super Rugby is bound to test sides, including the Bulls beyond two hookers.

 

 

Locks:

Name: Phillip Rudolph (Flip) van der Merwe:

Position Lock forward
Height 1.98
Weight 117
Date of Birth 6 June 1985
Place of Birth Potchefstroom
Provincial Debut 2006 (Free State)
Provincial Caps 73
Provincial Points 35
Super Rugby Debut 2007 v Chiefs
Super Rugby Caps 48
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut 2010 v France
Test Caps 23
Test Points 5

He was always compared to Bakkies Botha, but with the veteran Bok gone, it was the time for Van der Merwe to build his own legacy in 2012. The big man enjoys the responsibility of being the hard man in the side and the go to man for breaching the advantage line, setting up drives and putting pressure on the opposing scrum. Much of the tight five will revolve around Van der Merwe.

In June 2010 he was selected to represent the Springboks, for the June 12 test against France. In 2009, van der Merwe was recruited by the Blue Bulls. Prior to joining 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.

This is the year where Flip has to kick on and cut out his propensity to give silly penalties away, firmly cementing his place in the No 4 spot for the Springboks, however the young wonder, Eben Etzebeth from the Stormers, stands in his way for a Springbok starting spot.

 

Name: Petrus Johannes Juandre (Juandre) Kruger:

Position Lock
Height 1.98
Weight 110kg
Date of Birth 6 September 1985
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2007 WP
Provincial Caps 40
Provincial Points 40
Super Rugby Debut 2012 vs Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 17
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut 2012 vs England
Test Caps 8
Test Points 0

After kicking his heels during Super Rugby in 2011, Juandré Kruger made the most of his opportunities in 2012, taking the Super Rugby competition by storm and also representing the Springboks. The athletic lock forward has impressed in taking over the mantle of Victor Matfield, having developed into a supreme lineout master and with his ball carrying ability, but is not afraid to mix it up in the tight stuff, as witnessed during 2012 and his two years spent with Northampton Saints in the English Premiership and Heineken Cup.

He is now the man in the saddle in the No 5 spot in the Bulls and the Springboks.

He started his career off at Western Province, representing them in the 2007 Vodacom Cup. From there he moved to the Blue Bulls, competing for them in the 2008 Vodacom Cup. He also featured for the Blue Bulls in the 2008 Currie Cup, at times being preferred to Springbok internationals Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha. Kruger was an unused replacement in the Final of the 2008 Currie Cup, against the Natal Sharks.

Kruger then made the move to Northampton Saints. He enjoyed a successful partnership with Fernando Lobbe. In his first season at the club, he won the ECC. In his second and final season, he featured in the Heineken Cup,played in a Guinness Premiership Semi Finaland won the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Kruger re-joined the Blue Bulls in 2010.

In 2012, alongside Andries Bekker he was a contender, having taken over from Victor Matfield as the No 5 lock for the Springboks. He will be coached at the Bulls this year by none other than Victor Matfield, so expect him to reign supreme in the lineouts again.

Rugby Career

  • 2012: Bulls (Super Rugby), Springboks (June Internationals & The Rugby Championship & End Of Year Tours), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2011: Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup & Currie Cup)
  • 2010: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup Premier Division), Northampton Saints (Guinness Premiership)
  • 2009: Northampton Saints (Guinness Premiership)
  • 2008: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup Premier Division), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup)
  • 2007: Western Province (Currie Cup Premier Division), Western Province (Vodacom Cup)
  • 2006: Western Province (Vodacom Cup), Western Province (Under-21)
  • 2005: Western Province (Under-21)
  • 2004: Western Province (Under-20)

 

Name: Jabez Wilhelmus Arnoldus (Wilhelm) Steenkamp:

Position Lock
Height 2.00
Weight 110
Date of Birth 7 February 1985
Place of Birth Calvinia
Provincial Debut 2006 v Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 85
Provincial Points 30
Super 14 Debut 2008 v Stormers
Super 14 Caps 52
Super 14 Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0

After stints with the Sharks (on loan) in 2010 and the Cheetahs in 2011, Steenkamp returned to the Bulls for 2012. A solid, reliable lock forward who always gives 110%, the Bulls pack will leave nothing out there if Steenkamp, who also captained the Cheetahs at times, has his way. Already an Emerging Springbok, Steenkamp will be motivated by a possible Bok call-up, in light of the fact that Andries Bekker from the Stormers is so injury prone.

Wilhelm Steenkamp made his mark with the Bulls in the during the 2008 Super 14 season – filling in for Victor Matfield while the Springbok legend was playing in France.

Steenkamp is a fantastic lineout specialist and a player who has been tipped to go on to big things in the future. He is also highly respected as a leader.

Rugby Career

  • 2012: Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2011: Cheetahs (Super Rugby), Free State Cheetahs (Currie Cup)
  • 2010: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup Premier Division), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), The Sharks (Vodacom Super 14)
  • 2009: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup Premier Division), Emerging Springboks (British & Irish Lions Tour), Bulls (Super 14)
  • 2008: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup Premier Division), Bulls (Super 14)
  • 2007: Blue Bulls (Currie Cup Premier Division), SA Emerging (IRB Nations Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Bulls (Super 14)
  • 2006: South Africa (IRB Under-21), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (Under- 21)
  • 2005: Blue Bulls (Under-21), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup)
  • 2004: Blue Bulls (Under-20)

 

Name: Paul Willemse:

Position Lock
Height 1.97
Weight 127
Date of Birth 13 November 1992
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2012 for the Lions
Provincial Caps 6
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for the Lions vs Cheetahs 7 April 2012
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Paul Willemse

The 20 year old ex-Lion is a product of Monument High School in the Johannesburg area and absolutely excelled for the Junior Springboks in the Junior World Cup 2012.

He made his debut for the Lions in Super Rugby at the age of just 19 against the Cheetahs on 7 April 2012.

He is a big boy and has a very bright future ahead of him.

I expect him to really break through and make his mark in 2012, to only go from strenght to strenght from there.

Rugby Career

  • 2012: Lions (Super Rugby), Junior Springboks (IRB Junior World Championship), Golden Lions (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Golden Lions (Currie Cup)
  • 2011: Golden Lions (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2010: Golden Lions (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2009: Namibia (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)

 

Name: Cornell Norman (Cornell) Hess:

Position Lock
Height 2.00m
Weight 107
Date of Birth 1 March 1989
Place of Birth Wynberg, Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2007 vs Griquas
Provincial Caps 7
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Cornell Hess

After representing SWD Eagles at several youth tournaments, he joined the Blue Bulls in 2006.

He made his first team debut for the Blue Bulls in the opening game of the 2010 Vodacom Cup, coming on as a substitute in their game against Griquas. He made a total of 28 appearances in this competition over the next three seasons and finally made his Currie Cup debut in the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division.

Rugby Career

  • 2005: SWD (Under 16 Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2006: SA Schools, Blue Bulls (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2007: Blue Bulls (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week), South Africa (IRB Under 19 World Championship), SA Schools, Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2008: South Africa (IRB World Championship), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2009: Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010: Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2011: Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2012: Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)

 

Additional players

The Bulls will have the services of Marvin Orie, Schalk van Heerden and Mike Williams, from their junior ranks (in their wider Super Rugby training group) as backup, but knowing the Bulls as I do, they will gradually bring the youngsters through the ranks. The Blue Bulls are not known for nothing as THE LOCK FACTORY.

 

Starters:

The Bulls are virtually assured to start with Flip van der Merwe at No 4 lock, with Juandre Kruger set to fill the No 5 lock spot and of course with the experienced Wilhelm Steenkamp on the bench. Paul Willemse and / or Cornell Hess might get some game time as rotation sets in in a long and arduous competition.

 

 

Loose Forwards:

 

Name: Gideon Johannes (Deon) Stegmann:

Position Flanker
Height 1.80
Weight 100
Date of Birth 23 March 1986
Place of Birth Cradock
Provincial Debut 2007 v Griffons
Provincial Caps 53
Provincial Points 40
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 60
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut 2010 v Ireland
Test Caps 6
Test Points 0

Quietly going about his business at the breakdown, Stegmann has grown into one of the most effective opensiders in the game today. He will again be to the fore in turning over opposition ball and his stats will show a consistent ability to carry ball, hit rucks and made a massive amount of tackles. The added experience of test match rugby makes him one of the key players in the Bulls pack.

Stegmann attended South Africa’s top-ranked rugby school, Grey College in Bloemfontein, where he was selected for the SA schools team. During high school he was a track and field athlete and played Number 8 (as well as flank) in Grey College’s First XV loose trio, alongside Springbok and Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brussow, and Cheetahs flank Richardt Strauss.

He made his Super 14 debut for the Bulls in 2008 at the age of 21.

Stegmann is a classic fetcher with a low centre of gravity who is thriving under the new law interpretations- and his anticipation, together with his toughness, is a huge asset for the Bulls.He made the number 6 jersey his own in 2008 after playing in every Super 14 match and being awarded Bulls Forward of the Year in 2008.

He has been one of the Super Rugby’s best openside flankers from 2008 to 2011, struggled with injury in 2012 (only played in 5 Super Rugby games). He is one of the hardest working players in the Bulls’ squad, as well as a superb team player with a very high work rate, regularly leading the tackle count, turnover and work rate stats for the Bulls.He has a time of 10.8 seconds in the 100 metre sprint.

In November 2010, Stegmann was called up to the Springbok squad (outgoing tours) as a replacement to injured Springbok flank and former IRB player of the year Schalk Burger, and was handed his first cap as a Springbok debutant in the starting lineup named to face Ireland on November 6, 2010. The Springboks won and Stegmann subsequently started every match on tour. South Africa obtained a result of 3-1 over the Isles, beating England and Wales and losing to Scotland.

Deon will be looking for an injury free 2013 and with so many youngsters at the Bulls sticking their hands up for starting berths, he will have to get back to his best form to retain his starting berth.

Career:

  • Free State (U/18 Craven Week) – 2004
  • Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup, SA Under 19) – 2005
  • Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21) – 2006
  • Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup, ABSA Currie Cup) – 2007
  • Vodacom Bulls (Super 14) & Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup) – 2008
  • Vodacom Bulls (Super 14) & Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup) – 2009
  • Vodacom Bulls (Super 14) & Springboks (Outgoing Tours) – 2010
  • Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby) & Springboks & Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup) – 2011
  • Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby), Vodacom Blue Bulls (Currie Cup) – 2012

 

Name: Dewald Johan (Dewald) Potgieter:

Position Loose forward
Height 1.90
Weight 102 kg
Date of Birth 22 February 1987
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2007 v Griffons
Provincial Caps 58
Provincial Points 50
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 54
Super Rugby Points 20
Test Debut 2009 v Ireland
Test Caps 6
Test Points 5

The blonde tearaway will be the first to admit that 2011 was not his best season since becoming a professional rugby player, but 2012 was better, specially towards the end of the season as Dewald regained form and really stepped up a gear or two. Dewald will be very keen to improve even further in 2013 as the competition for Loose Forward berths at the Bulls is getting stronger every day with two youngsters in particular, Jean Cook and Arno Botha pushing very hard for starting berths. Injuries and a loss of form resulted in him losing his spot on the Springbok roster and the hurt of that will motivate Dewald tremendously. His versatility as a loose forward will also boost the Bulls.

His first tour with the Springboks was to France, Italy, Ireland & England in late 2009.

He has an exceptional work rate and fast became a crowd favourite when playing at his home ground, the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, in Pretoria, South Africa. Potgieter has won 2 Super rugby titles and a Currie Cup.

Career:

  • Cravenweek – 1999–2003
  • Border Under 18 Cravenweek, Green Squad – 2004
  • Blue Bulls Under 19 & Blue Bulls Under 21 – 2005
  • Blue Bulls, SA Under 21 – 2006
  • Blue Bulls Under 21 Absa Competition, Emerging Springboks – 2007
  • Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Emerging Springboks – 2008
  • Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Emerging Springboks, Springboks (End Of Year Tours) – 2009
  • Bulls (Super 14), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Springboks – 2010
  • Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup) – 2011
  • Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup) – 2012

 

Name: Pierre Johan (Pierre) Spies:

Position Eighth man
Height 1.94
Weight 108
Date of Birth 8 June 1985
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2005 v Griquas
Provincial Caps 17
Provincial Points 20
Super 14 Debut 2005 v Highlanders
Super 14 Caps 89
Super 14 Points 105
Test Debut 2006 v Australia
Test Caps 50
Test Points 35

Pierre Spies attended Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Afrikaans High School for Boys, also known as Affies). After school he completed his first year in B.Sc Construction Management at the University of Pretoria, but did not continue his studies due to te tragedy of his dad, Pierre Spies Snr’s passing (Pierre Snr played Wing for Northern Transvaal in the 1970’s).

He made his debut for the Blue Bulls in 2005 in a match against the Griquas and made his Super 12 debut against the Brumbies, becoming the youngest player ever to represent the Bulls. After being injured in his first ever Super 12 match, he made his comeback through the national under-21 league, where he scored nine tries in just six games.

He has represented the Springboks since 2006.

Although he plays as a loose forward, he has considerable pace, having been timed at 10.7 seconds over 100m. This is especially impressive considering his size (194 cm tall and 111 kg); he has played wing for the Bulls and Springboks when they experienced an injury crisis. He power cleans 135kg. He dead lifts 240kg. He bench presses 165kg. Only mildly impressed? Wait, here are some more. He is able to do pull-ups with a 50kg weight between his legs. He can launch his 108kg body 1.4m onto a raised platform, sprints for 835m before slowing on a repeated sprint-ability test and has a body-fat percentage of 6.5.

Pierre is now saddled with the Bulls captaincy for the Super Rugby competition and is now accepted amongst his peers as one of the great loose forwards in the international game and will be keen to remind all his opponents of that with his powerful play off the base, great pace in open space and anticipation in broken play. Captaincy at this level will be another challenge the extremely religious player embrace with open arms.

Pierre has been critisized widely for ‘disapearing’ in tight games and has not exactly set the world alight in the last 2 seasons for the Springboks, but was still the preferred No 8 for the Springboks until his thumb injury in the middle of 2012. Pierre needs to convert his massive power and explosive abilities better, by adopting better body positions going into contact and working on his defence and his handling behind the pack at the scrum.

If you love to hate Pierre because he does not play for your team, at the same time you have to admit that you also fear his abilities… come on, just admit it!

Career:

  • 2002 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Craven Week – lock)
  • 2003 – Blue Bulls (Under 18 Craven Week – No 8 & captain)
  • 2004 – Blue Bulls & SA Under 19 – Wing)
  • 2005 – Bulls (Became the youngest Blue Bull to make his Super 12 debut at age 19), SA Students, Blue Bulls Under 21 – top try scorer with 9 tries in 6 games
  • 2006 – Bulls (Super 14), SA Under 21, Springboks (Debut for Springboks vs Australia in Brisbane, MOTM vs All Blacks in Rustenburg), Voted SA’s Most Promising Player Of The Year, Nominee for Currie Cup Player Of The Year & SA Player Of The Year & IRB New Player Of The Year
  • 2007 – Bulls (Super Rugby – winner), Springboks (MOTM award vs England at Loftus, Springbok World Cup – withdrew due to medical reasons
  • 2008 – Bulls (Super 14), Springboks, Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2009 – Bulls (Super 14 – winner), Springboks (including against British & Irish Lions), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2010 – Bulls (Super 14 – winner), Springboks, Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2011 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Springboks, Springboks Rugby World Cup in New Zealand
  • 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby – captain), Springboks – June & The Rugby Championship

 

Name: Arnoldus Francois (Arno) Botha:

Position Loose Forward
Height 1.90
Weight 102
Date of Birth 26 October 1991
Place of Birth Modimolle
Provincial Debut 2011 v Pumas
Provincial Caps 18
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2012
Super Rugby Caps 10
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut No Test but was taken on the End Of Year Tour to the Northern Hemisphere in 2012
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Arno Botha

He is not 21 years old and a solid fixture at the Blue Bulls and Bulls already. He seems to be destined and groomed for a Springbok berth too in the not too distant future. For the young tearaway it is clearly a case of – if he is good enough, he is old enough.

Botha made his first run-on start a week after debutting off the bench against the Pumas in 2011 and immediately showed against Griquas why he is rated amongst the top young players in the country.

The impressive youngster has all the qualities you expect from a product of the Bulls loose forward factory. He is extremely fit and strong, huge and don’t know how to quit. He is a destructive defender and a great ball carrier and was rated as one of the standouts at the Under 20 IRB Junior World Cup tournament in 2011, where he captained South Africa. Botha represents the next generation of Bulls players.

Last year (before the 2012 Super Rugby season) I touted Arno to become a Springbok and a bloody good one too… well he’s already made the Springbok touring side in 2012! This boykie is going places.

Career:

  • 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup), Springboks (part of touring group Castle Outgoing Tours)
  • 2011 – Tuks FNB Varsity Cup, South Africa Under 20 (IRB Junior World Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Vodacom Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2010 – Blue Bulls Under 19 (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2009 – Limpopo Blue Bulls Under 18 (Under 18 Craven Week)

 

Name: Ulrich Jacques (Jacques) Potgieter:

Position Loose Forward
Height 1.94
Weight 112
Date of Birth 24 April 1986
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2009 v Border (EP)
Provincial Caps 28
Provincial Points 45
Super Rugby Debut 2012 vs Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 13
Super Rugby Points 10
Test Debut 2012 vs England
Test Caps 3
Test Points 0
Jacques Potgieter

He represented Eastern Province at the annual Craven Week rugby tournament in 2004 and then clinched a move to the Natal Sharks, whom he represented at various youth levels before playing in the Vodacom Cup for two seasons before moving back to the Eastern Province Kings for the 2009 Currie Cup First Division season.

In August 2011, the Blue Bulls announced that they had signed Potgieter for the 2012 season on a two-year contract. An early release of his contract was secured and he joined the Bulls on 1 September 2011.

Jacques has now played Super Rugby for the Bulls & Currie Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls and he has played one Test for the Springboks.

He impresses with strong ball-carrying performances, headless defence and providing that hard edge which is expected from looseforwards at the Bulls.

Expect this all action loose forward to hit the ground running in his 2nd season of Super Rugby. An abrasive and aggressive player, Potgieter does not know how to take a backward step but sometimes loses focus in his energy and because of that still has some distance to go to make him a better defender. Having paid his dues in the lower echelons of the game, Potgieter will be keen in 2013 to work for and achieve a role in the Springboks again.

Career:

  • 2012 -Bulls (Super Rugby), Springboks, Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2011 – EP Kings Currie Cup First Division, SA Kings Nations Cup in Romania, Vodacom Blue Bulls Currie Cup
  • 2010 – EP Kings Currie Cup First Division
  • 2009 – EP Kings Currie Cup First Division, Sharks Vodacom Cup
  • 2008 – Sharks Vodacom Cup
  • 2007 – Sharks u.21 Absa Cup
  • 2006 – Sharks u.19 Absa Cup
  • 2004 – EP Schools Craven Week 2004

 

Name: Jean George (Jean) Cook:

Position Loose Forward
Height 1.93
Weight 102
Date of Birth 14 August 1991
Place of Birth Pietermaritzburg
Provincial Debut 2012 v Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 3
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jean Cook

Jean Cook has the junior pedigree to go all the way, having represented South Africa at Junior level as a utility forward and having played Vodacom Cup, Under 21 and Currie Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls in 2012.

Jean is robust, durable and an excellent ball carier. Much is expected from the youngster in 2013 and it could well be his break-through year, paving the way upward.

Career:

  • 2012 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2011 – CUT (FNB Varsity Shield), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championship), Free State Under 21 (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010 – Free State Under 19 (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2009 – SA Under 18 High Performance & SA Schools Under 18 (SA Schools)
  • 2008 – Under 18 Elite Squad (Elite Squads), Konica Minolta Free State Under 18 (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2007 – Free State Under 16 (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)

 

Name: Grant Neil (Grant) Hattingh:

Position Loose Forward
Height 2.01
Weight 107
Date of Birth 3 October 1990
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2012 v Griquas
Provincial Caps 8
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for the Lions vs Brumbies
Super Rugby Caps 9
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Grant Hattingh

Grant Hattingh 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 Super Rugby team. 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, where he saw quite a bit of action in the Currie Cup.

Career:

  • 2012 – Maties (FNB Varsity Cup), DHL Western Province (Vodacom Cup), MTN Lions (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Currie Cup)
  • 2011 – Maties (FNB Varsity Cup), DHL Western Province (ABSa Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010 – Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2009 – Western Province (ABSA Under 19 Competition)

 

Name: Shaun Adendorf:

Position Loose Forward
Height 1.86
Weight 98
Date of Birth 28 May 1992
Place of Birth Durban
Provincial Debut Only Under 21 Provincial so far – 2012 v Golden Lions U 21
Provincial Caps 12 (Under 21)
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Shaun Adendorf

Shaun Adendorf is one of the crop of masterful Blue Bulls players for South Africa in the IRB Junior World Cup Under 20 competition won by South Africa in 2012. He was also nominated as one of the candidates of the Tournament, won by his Blue Bulls team mate, Jan Serfontein in the end.

Shaun is a product of Port Natal Primary School and Glenwood High School in Natal.

He has all the skills, including some very good Sevens skills as showed recently in the IPL Style NBM Sevens Premier League Tournament in George.

He might just threaten to break though permanently into a starting spot for the Bulls and Blue Bulls in 2013. Much is expected of Adendorf, same with his fellow cohorts from the triamphant Blue Bulls Under 21 side of 2012. Have a good lookout for him, Wiaan Liebenberg and of course in the centres for Jan Serfontein as the youngsters totally break the mould and as they push themselves to the foreground in 2013.

Bluff-born loose forward, Shaun Adendorff, 20, was head-hunted by current Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to join the Blue Bulls in 2010 after Meyer saw him play at Academy Week in Vryheid.

The Glenwood old boy joined the Bulls after they tabled a offer that was too good to resist and is now studying towards a Sport Science degree at the University of Pretoria.

Shuan comes from a very sporting family, his mother Wilmer a former lady Springbok herself and his Ian father having represented Namibia as an 18-year old befor a knee injurie ended his career. Shaun was selected to play for the SA Under 19 Softball side whilst in grade 9 already and he also went on to play Craven Week rugby at Under 18 level for the Sharks.

 

Additional Players

There’s still the tough SA Under 20 star, Wiaan Liebenberg as well as Jacques du Plessis and Corné Cooper in the wider Bulls Super Rugby training group.

 

Starters:

The starting trio should be 3 of the 5 current Bulls Loose Forward Springboks and one would guess it would be Deon Stegmann (Openside – No 6), Dewald Potgieter (Blindside – No 7) and Pierre Spies (No 8 & Captain), but I would actually have had Pierre Spies play a bench role in favour of playing Arno Botha at Blindside flank (No 7 in SA circles) and Dewald Potgieter moving to No 8, a position he has played before with distinction. Pierre Spies would have to show first, from the bench, that he deserves a starting spot, he has been rather ordinary for too long now. Similarly I would have used Jacques Potgieter as a bench and impact option, till he sorted his headless tackling out and used his focus much better to accompany his energy on the field.

Not many sides can boast 5 current Internationals in their Super Rugby ranks… bar the Sharks who also has tis problem of who to pick and who to bench.

One would have thought the Bulls might miss CJ Stander who has gone overseas, but just look at the lineup above and with Adendorf and Liebenberg coming through at pace from the Under 20 ranks and you have to believe that the Bulls probably have the strongest core group of Loose Forwards in the whole Super Rugby Competition.

Now only for the Bulls coaching staff to use these Loose Forwards wisely and the way they should be utilised… and it could become a long season for the other Super Rugby sides.

 

 

Scrumhalves:

 

Name: Francois Hougaard:

Position Scrumhalf / left wing
Height 1.80
Weight 92 kg
Date of Birth 6 May 1988
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2007 v Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 39
Provincial Points 55
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Highlanders
Super Rugby Caps 45
Super Rugby Points 85
Test Debut 2009 v Italy
Test Caps 27
Test Points 20

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:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.71
Weight 84
Date of Birth 1 January 1985
Place of Birth Graaff Reinet
Provincial Debut 2005 v SWD (Lions)
Provincial Caps 89
Provincial Points 143
Super Rugby Debut 2006 v Stormers (Lions)
Super Rugby Caps 88
Super Rugby Points 72
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
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.

Career:

  • 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:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.69
Weight 77
Date of Birth 2 August 1989
Place of Birth Riversdal
Provincial Debut 2011 for the Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 4
Provincial Points 5
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
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.

Career:

  • 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:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.75
Weight 88
Date of Birth 9 March 1987
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2008 v Griquas
Provincial Caps 19
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2010 v Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0

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.

Rugby Careeer:

  • 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:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.75
Weight 88
Date of Birth 23 April 1991
Place of Birth Krugersdorp
Provincial Debut 2011
Provincial Caps 22
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
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.

Rugby Careeer:

  • 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)

 

Starters:

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.

 

 

Flyhalves:

 

Name: Morné Daniel (Morné) Steyn:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.82
Weight 91
Date of Birth 11 July 1984
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2003 v Boland
Provincial Caps 95
Provincial Points 806
Super Rugby Debut 2005 v Waratahs
Super Rugby Caps 106
Super Rugby Points 1201
Test Debut 2009 v British & Irish Lions
Test Caps 42
Test Points 486

Morné attended Fichardt Park Laerskool and Fichardt Park Hoërskool in Bloemfontein and made his Provincial debut for the Blue Bulls in 2003.

He was a member of the Bulls teams that won the 2007, 2009 & 2010 Super 14 Competitions. In 2009 he ended the season as the leading point scorer in Super Rugby, setting a record of 4 drop goals in one single match, in the semifinal against the Crusaders.

Steyn has won an Under 21 World Cup, 2 Currie Cups, 3 Super rugby titles, a Series against the British & Irish Lions and 1 Tri-Nations.

He was the most prolific kicker in the game a season or so ago and will be required to again run a much organised backline, combining great tactical kicking with a willingness to attack when the opportunity arise. Now in his ninth season at this level, the extremely fit pivot has already gone over 1200 career Super Rugby points and has amassed 106 cap in Super Rugby, as well as adding to his three Super medals.

Morné will be hoping and working very hard at regaining his masterful form of a couple of seasons ago, his permanent spot at the Springboks is under serious threat from the plethera of youngsters coming through the ranks. The advantage he has over his young peers though, is that he has been there and done it all… in fine fashion.

Records:

  • World record for most points scored by a player who has scored all their team’s points (31).
  • Most points scored against New Zealand (31) in a single test
  • South African record for penalties in a test (8) – beating the seven achieved twice by former fullback and now kicking coach of South Africa, Percy Montgomery.
  • All of the above records achieved with his 31 points scored in the Tri Nations 2009 match against the All Blacks in Durban on 1 Aug 09
  • South African record for most points in a test against Australia.
  • Fastest 100 points by a Springbok (8 Test matches, 3 as replacement)
  • Fastest 200 points by a Springbok (16 Test matches)
  • Fastest 300 points by a Springbok (24 Test matches)
  • Fastest 400 points by a Springbok (33 Test matches)
  • Most drop-goals in a Super Rugby season (11 in 2009).
  • Most points scored against the All Blacks for a Springbok (31).
  • Most points in a Tri Nations match (31).
  • Most drop goals in a Super Rugby game (4) (in the 2009 Super 14 semi-final against the Crusaders)
  • Most drop goals in Super Rugby (22)
  • Most penalties in a Super Rugby Season (51 in 2010)
  • Most points in a Super Rugby season (263) – Beating Dan Carter’s record of 221 set in 2006.
  • Steyn also holds the record for most consecutive successful kicks at goal in Test play since statistics for that category were first kept in the late 1980s. He had a streak of 41 successful attempts that ended on 6 November 2010 against Ireland. The previous record was 36, held by Chris Paterson of Scotland.
  • Biggest points margin in a Super 14 Final (61 – 17 against the Chiefs)
  • Biggest win in a Super Rugby match vs the reds (92 – 3)

Morné Steyn is one of those ever-loyal Blue Bulls and has represented the Union from 2003 till now. 2013 Will be his 10th year at the Blue Bulls. People can say what they like about Morné, with aweful nicknames having recently been slung towards him from the jealous and the tardy out there, but he has been extremely loyal, a team man, a match winner and a superstar for the Blue Bulls, the Bulls and the Springboks… how’s that for size?

I have no doubt that there is still plenty rugby left in his dependable bones…. go Morras!

 

Name: Handré Pollard:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.89
Weight 95
Date of Birth 18 years old, fresh out of School
Place of Birth Somerset West
Provincial Debut
Provincial Caps 0
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Handré Pollard

Handré is the son of one of our registered bloggers here on Rugby-Talk

Handré is a youngster fresh out of High School, with high expectations. He burst onto the rugby scene here in South Africa with his stellar performances for Paarl Gymnasium and the Junior Springboks in their successful capture of the IRB Junior World Championship in 2012.

He has represented Western Province at Under 13 (2007), Under 16 (2010) and Under 18 (2011 & 2012) levels.

How does one decribe such a youngster, who has’nt yet played senior provincial rugby? I suppose one can only use Naas Botha’s old cliche, “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”

Handré is a player who ticks all the boxes, he has a prodigious boot to touch and to posts, his tactical kicking is masterful, and his attacking worth is just waiting to be properly explored. He attacks the gain line and is not shy to pilfer ball from an opponent on the ground. His option-taking reminds one of the great flyhalves of yesteryear and Heyneke Meyer, Springbok coach, has already had his eye on Handré from Under 16 level.

He might be a year or more younger than Johan Goosen of the Toyota Cheetahs, but there is a lot of similarity in what is expected from him.

The Blue Bulls jumped at the chance to sign young Handré for 2013, who only yesterday received his final matric results.

I guess we will see what he’s made from in 2013, but expectations are high.

Career:

  • 2007 – Western Province Under 13 (Under 13 Coca Cola Craven Week)
  • 2010 – Western province Under 16 (Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2011 – Western Province Under 18 (Under 18 Coca Cola Craven Week)
  • 2012 – Western Province Under 18 (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships – winner)

 

Name: Louis Daniel Van Zyl (Louis) Fouché:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.86
Weight 97
Date of Birth 4 January 1990
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2011 v Pumas
Provincial Caps 19
Provincial Points 263
Super Rugby Debut 2012 vs Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 10
Super Rugby Points 2
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Louis Fouche

His massive boot might be typical of flyhalves from Pretoria, but Louis Fouché loves playing a running game as well. The youngster showed a lot of courage and temperament in his first year of Currie Cup in 2011 and provided cover for Morné Steyn during a long and taxing year in 2012. Good defence is another plus, but opponents will need to be wary most of his ability to drop goals from 50, 60 meters out.

Career:

  • 2007 – Leopards Under 18 (Under 18 Academy Week)
  • 2008 – Under 18 Elite Squad (Elite Squads), Leopards Under 18 (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2009 – Leopards (ABSA Under 19 Competition), Leopards (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010 – Leopards (ABSA UNder 21 Competition)
  • 2011 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)
  • 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup)

 

Additional Players:

If the Bulls run into problems they could always also call on the services of Tony Jantjies (brother of Elton Jantjies) who has come through the Blue Bulls Junior ranks, or on Tiaan Schoeman, not that it is envisaged that the Bulls would need more than 3 quality flyhalves during the Super Rugby competition of 2013.

 

Starters:

Of course Morné Steyn should start! He is one of the current Springbok incumbant flyhalves. One of Handré Pollard or Louis Fouché should be on the bench for Super Rugby.

 

 

Centres:

 

Name: Wynand Olivier:

Position Centre
Height 1.86
Weight 93
Date of Birth 11 June 1983
Place of Birth Welkom
Provincial Debut 2003 v Boland
Provincial Caps 72 PLUS his CAPS at Ricoh Black Rams
Provincial Points 130
Super Rugby Debut 2005 v Highlanders
Super Rugby Caps 101
Super Rugby Points 145
Test Debut 2006 v Scotland
Test Caps 37
Test Points 5

Wynand “Meisiekind” Olivier was born in Welkom, attended the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunsskool (Affies) in Pretoria and made his provincial rugby debut for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup in a match against Boland in 2003. He made his debut in the Super 12 (now, Super Rugby) competition in 2005, playing for the Bulls in a game against the Otago-based Highlanders. He was included in Jake White’s 2006 Springboks 45 man training squad. Olivier made his Test debut in the first Test against Scotland in Durban in 2006 and was included in the Springbok starting lineup for the Tests against Scotland in Port Elizabeth and France in Cape Town. He was selected to tour with the Springboks as they started their Tri Nations quest in 2006.

Olivier has been an integral part of the Bull’s championship winning teams and although a lot of people will argue that he has not been an outstanding Springbok, he has been an excellent and outstanding game-breaking Blue Bulls and Bulls centre. Despite his match-winning qualities, he is second to Springbok veteran Adrian Jacobs in terms of consideration for the position of replacement center.

The very experienced midfielder has constantly shown himself to be one of the best in the competition and this year, despite the fact that he has been in Japan, should be no different. Olivier is the defensive kingpin at the back, provides real thrust on attack and has developed a great understanding with Morné Steyn on his inside. Olivier will also be keen to use this platform to propel himself back into the Springbok team, having missed out on World Cup selection in 2011.

Career Honours:

  • Young SA Rugby Player of the Year nominee, 2005
  • ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year nominee , 2008
  • In 2008 he was inducted into the University of Pretoria Sport Hall of fame.

 

Name: Lionel Granton (Lionel) Mapoe:

Position Centre
Height 1.82
Weight 87
Date of Birth 13 July 1988
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2009 for Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 29
Provincial Points 50
Super Rugby Debut 2010 for the Lions v Hurricanes
Super Rugby Caps 28
Super Rugby Points 10
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Lionel Mapoe

Lionel came through the Junior ranks at the Free State Cheetahs until he decided to leave to go to the Sharks and a contractual row soured things between him and the Free State Cheetahs as well as between him and the Sharks. The Golden Lions saw the opportunity and signed Lionel Mapoe for 2011 onwards but injury played havoc with Lionel in 2011.

2012 Was finally the year Lionel Mapoe would start to show his worth and Lionel had a good season with the MTN Lions, who unfortunately were relegated from Super Rugby for the 2013 season.

Few players love scoring tries more than Lionel Mapoe, on loan from the MTN Lions and whether used as outside centre or wing, expect this hard-running player to be amongst the try-scoring leaders at the end of the competition. A stellar season with the Lions saw him drafted into the Springboks touring squad in November 2012 and he will no doubt be a better player for it upon his return to Vodacom Super Rugby.

Hopefully injury stays away in 2013 for Lionel.

In recent years, the position of Outside Center has been a real problem and Lionel could fill this void very nicely in conjunction with the crop of promising youg Bulls upstarts hot on his heels.

Career:

  • 2004 – Free State (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2005 – Free State (Under 18 Academy Week)
  • 2006 – Free State (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2007 – Free State (Vodacom Cup), Free State (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2008 – South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Free State (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2009 – South Africa (IRB Sevens World Cup), Free State (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), Free Staet (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010 – Vodacom Cheetahs (Super 14), Free State (ABSA Currie Cup), Sharks (ABSA Currie Cup squad)
  • 2011 – MTN Lions (Super Rugby), MTN Golden Lions (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2012 – MTN Lions (Super Rugby), MTN Golden Lions (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), South Africa (Castle Outgoing Tours – End Of Year Tours – Squad member)

 

Name: Jacobus Francois (Francois) Venter:

Position Centre
Height 1.84
Weight 93
Date of Birth 19 April 1991
Place of Birth Bloemfontein
Provincial Debut 2011 v Sharks
Provincial Caps 21
Provincial Points 25
Super Rugby Debut 2012 v Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 8
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Francois Venter

This youngster hailing from Bloemfontein where he attended Grey College Primary School as well as Grey College at secondary school level, studies at the University of Pretoria and made his debut in Senior Professional Rugby, for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup in 2010, when he was only 18. He has since gone on to represent the Blue Bulls from the 2011 ABSA Currie Cup, where he has now already distinguished and established himself and where people are starting to think, me included, that he might just take Wynand Olivier’s mantle over in the very near future, at inside centre.

The former South African Under 20 midfielder has already proven his worth in the senior ranks with a stellar debut year in the 2011 Currie Cup. Very quick off the mark, great running angles and sound distribution are core skills for the former SA Schools player, who will be pushing fellow midfielders Wynand Olivier and the rest of the young crew hard for a starting berth all season.

Career:

  • 2006 – Free State (Under 16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2008 – Under 18 Elite Squad, SA Schools, Free State (Under 18 Coca Cola Craven Week)
  • 2009 – Free State (Under 19 ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2010 – Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), Blue Bulls (ABSa Under 19 Competition)
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championship), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2012 – Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)

 

Name: William Small-Smith:

Position Centre
Height 1.85
Weight 90
Date of Birth 31 March 1992
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2012 v Sharks
Provincial Caps 2
Provincial Points
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0

Schooled at the Rugby Factory, none other than Grey College in Bloemfontein.

He was a young Springbok Sevens star and was a member of the Blitzbokke. William was a regular captain of the Blue Bulls Under 19 team and did very well in the first two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2011, including scoring the winning try in the Blitzbokke’s memorable win over New Zealand early December 2011.

He captained both the SA Schools & SARU High Performance Under 18 sides in 2010.

There was massive expectation when William Small-Smith arrived in Blue Bulls country at the start of 2011. He also jumped straight into senior rugby in 2011 by playing Vodacom Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls.

Initially it was his performances in the Vodacom Cup for the Blue Bulls that really had the tongues wagging. Small-Smith’s leadership with the side catches the eye, his tactical acumen is a joy to behold and he leads with his play on the field as well.

Not only is his attacking play great to see when he is carrying the ball, his distribution skills is top class. He is also a very strong defender.

2013 Might be the year that he breaks though, but he’s got stiff opposition at the Bulls in 2013 with a plethera of very good centres all vying for just 2 starting spots at the Bulls in the centres. The crop of centres has not looked this good at the Bulls for decades.

 

Name: Jan Lodewyk (Jan) Serfontein:

Position Centre
Height 1.87
Weight 97
Date of Birth 15 April 1993
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2012 v Griquas
Provincial Caps 4
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jan Serfontein

Massive expectation comes with Serfontein’s elevation into top flight rugby. Named Player of the Tournament at last year’s IRB Junior World Cup was almost a forgone conclusion following the Junior Springbok’s sublime form in the tournament, culminating in a decisive try for his team in the final. Some Currie Cup action for the Vodacom Blue Bulls justified the hype and the young upstart should find the next level with comfortable ease, thanks to his pace, power and time on the ball.

Career:

  • 2006 – Eastern Province (Under 13 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2008 – Under 16 Elite Squad (Elite Squads), Eastern Province (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2009 – Free State (Under 16 Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2011 – Free State (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week), SA Schools
  • 2012 – Blue Bulls (odacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships – winner and player of the Tournament and Year), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition), Blue Bulls )ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)

 

Name: Ulrich Beyers:

Position Fullback / Centre
Height 1.89
Weight 89
Date of Birth 22 January 1991
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2012 v Griquas
Provincial Caps 5
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Ulrich Beyers

Ulrich represented the Pumas from Under 16 level (2007) and for 2 consecutive years at the Under 18 Coca Cola Craven Week (2008 & 2009), then moved to the Cape where he represented Western Province in the ABSA Under 19 Competition.

In 2011 he moved to the Blue Bulls and has represented the Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup team with distinction.

In 2011 Ulrich also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championships.

He is a free-flowing player with great tactical kicking ability and can be utilised at fullback and center. Ulrich has been chosen to run out for the Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby warm-up side to face the Kings this weekend.

Young, fearless and very skilled – that is Ulrich Beyers for you. The versatile former Junior Springboks player can play almost anywhere in the backline and his massive boot again contributed to the Vodacom Blue Bulls and their Cup-winning Under 21 side in 2012. Now ready for the big stage, Beyers will be looking to make the most of his opportunities.

 

Starters:

This is where it starts getting dicey, not because of a lack of talent but due to an abundance of talent available. One would think that the fight for inside centre is between old dog Wynand Olivier and young Francois Venter, but Jan Serfonein could sneak in there at inside or at outside centre too. At outside centre Lionel Mapoe might have the inside track, but William Small-Smith and Jan Serfontein will give him a hell of a go… and then in addition you have JJ Engelbrecht, the recent Springbok who played outside centre in 2012 too, apart from playing on the wing.

Nobody will miss Johan Sadie, who has departed for the Cheetahs, after a poor year at the Bulls in 2012.

I have a sneaky suspicion that Ulrich Beyers won’t get any Super Rugby game time unless somehow he needs to cover at fullback, but he’ll mostly play Vodacom Cup rugby.

 

 

Back Three:

 

Name: Bjorn Alberick (Bjorn) Basson:

Position Wing
Height 1.85
Weight 87kg
Date of Birth 11 February 1987
Place of Birth King William’s Town
Provincial Debut 2008 v Border Bulldogs
Provincial Caps 60
Provincial Points 250
Super Rugby Debut 2009 v Lions
Super Rugby Caps 42
Super Rugby Points 125
Test Debut 2010 v Wales
Test Caps 6
Test Points 0
Bjorn Basson

Whilst Bjorn usually plays on the left wing, he is a very able fullback.

Having cut his teeth at GWK Griquas and then went on to represent the Cheetahs at Super Rugby level, he decided to move to the Blue Bulls in 2011.

Bjorn represented the Emerging Springboks in 2009 and also played for the Royal XV against the British & Irish Lions.

At The Bulls he Has played Super Rugby, then gone on to represent the Springboks and also played for the Blue Bulls in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

We all know Bjorn to be a speed-freak and try scoring machine but if there is possibly one area where he needs to sharpen up is on defence.

Try-scoring comes easy for Basson, who topped the Super Rugby and Currie Cup logs in this regard for the Pretoria franchise in 2011. His pace, vision on attack and uncanny ability to contest in the air makes him one of the most dangerous wings in the competition and the Bulls will be looking to give their record-breaking finisher ample opportunity with the ball in hand.

Injury robbed Bjorn from piling up the tries in 2012 and also robbed him of Springbok duty late in the 2012 season. He will want to extend his magnificent try-scoring blitz in 2013.

 

Name: Johannes Jacobus (JJ) Engelbrecht:

Position Wing / Outside Centre
Height 1.90
Weight 95kg
Date of Birth 22 February 1989
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2009 v Elephants
Provincial Caps 35
Provincial Points 65
Super Rugby Debut 2012 v Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 17
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut 2012 v Argentina
Test Caps 1
Test Points 0
JJ Engelbrecht

A product of Grey School (Port Elizabeth), JJ Engelbrecht is rated as one of the most promising young talents in South Africa.

A classical wing who also did duty for the Bulls and Blue Bulls at outside centre, Engelbrecht is powerful with ball in hand and blessed with great speed. The former Eastern Province Craven Week and Under 19 star attended Stellenbosch University after school, playing for the famous Maties 1st XV, and was a member of the 2010 Western Province Currie Cup squad, having made his debut for the region in 2009. In 2011 He continued to represent DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.

Upon joining the Bulls for the 2012 season he was still just 22 years old. Engelbrecht has been unlucky with injuries early in his career but has excelled for the Bulls in 2012, earning him a call-up to the Springboks under Heyneke Meyer. He should play a big part for the Bulls in 2013.

In 2011 JJ was the Players Player of the Year at Western Province Rugby Union.

A Springbok call-up in 2012 indicated the impact this elusive outside back made in his first season of Super Rugby. Engelbrecht runs great lines on attack and is always a threat with ball in hand. He will be looking to improve on his test match cap tally this year and in order to do that, a consistent and high class contribution will be needed – and can be expected from the Eastern Cape born player.

Career:

  • 2007 – Eastern Province (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2008 – Vodacom Western Province (ABSA Under 9 Competition)
  • 2009 – Western Province (Vodacom Cup), Maties (FNB Varsity Cup), Vodacom Western Province (British & Irish Lions Tour), Vodacom Western Province (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Vodacom Western Province (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010 – Western Province (Vodacom Cup), Vodacom Western Province (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2011 – DHL Western Province (Vodacom Cup), DHL Western Province (Super Rugby), DHL Western Province (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), DHL Western Province (ABSa Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby), Springboks (Castle Incoming Tours against England), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division), Springboks (The Rugby Championship)

 

Name: Akona Ndungane:

Position Wing
Height 1.83
Weight 93
Date of Birth 20 February 1981
Place of Birth Umtata
Provincial Debut 2003 v SWD (EP)
Provincial Caps 78
Provincial Points 215
Super Rugby Debut 2005 v Cats
Super Rugby Caps 84
Super Rugby Points 140
Test Debut 2006 v Australia
Test Caps 11
Test Points 5

Akona is the twin brother of fellow Springbok wing, Odwa Ndungane (who plies his trade at the Sharks), grew up in Umtata and attended Hudson Park Secondary School.

He represented the Elephants in 2002 and 2003, then the Border Bulldogs in 2004, before moving to the Blue Bulls where he has represented the Vodacom Bulls and Blue Bulls, before making his Springbok Test debut on 15 July 2006 against Australia in Brisbane, becoming Springbok Number 774.

Two serious leg breaks has hampered Akona in the last couple of years but towards the end of 2011 he seemed to be coming back into prime form.

Maybe not a fabulously spectacular wing anymore, Akona is as steady as they come, finishes well and his defence is exemplary.

A lot has happened to Ndungane since his debut all those years ago, but the veteran winger has showed great courage and determination to get back to this level of play. He will be looking to improve on his already impressive Super Rugby medal tally in 2013.

Akona owns 3 Super Rugby winners medals (2007, 2009, 2010) as well as a World Cup winners medal (2007).

Career:

  • 1999 – Border (Bankfin Under 21)
  • 2002 – Mighty Elephants (Bankfin Under 21)
  • 2003 – Mighty Elephants (Vodacom Shield), Mighty Elephants (ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Rounds), Mighty Elephants (ABSA Currie Cup First Division), Mighty Elephants (ABSA Reserve Division B)
  • 2004 – Bulldogs (Vodacom Cup), Bulldogs (ABSA Currie Cup First Division), South Africa A (South Africa A Outgoing Tour)
  • 2005 – Vodacom Bulls (Super 12), Border Bulldogs (Vodacom Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Rounds), Border Bulldogs (ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Rounds), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2006 – Vodacom Bulls (Super 14), Springboks (Tri-Nations), Springboks (Outgoing Tours), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2007 – Vodacom Bulls (Super 14), Springboks (World Cup Warm-up’s), Springboks (Vodacom Incoming Tours), Springboks (Vodacom Tri-Nations), Springbok XV (Vodacom Outgoing Tour), Springboks (Vodacom Outgoing Tour), Springboks (IRB Rugby World Cup 2007 – winner)
  • 2008 – Vodacom Bulls (Super 14), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2009 – Bulls (MTN test), Vodacom Bulls (Super 14 – winner), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premer Division)
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls (Super 14 – winner), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)

 

Name: Zane Kirchner:

Position Fullback
Height 1.85
Weight 96 kg
Date of Birth 16 June 1984
Place of Birth George
Provincial Debut 2003
Provincial Caps 101
Provincial Points 209
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 71
Super Rugby Points 100
Test Debut 2009 v British & Irish Lions
Test Caps 24
Test Points 15
Zane Kirchner

Zane attended Kretzenhoop Primary School and PW Botha College in George.

Zane made his name at the GWK Griquas where he played between 2003 to 2007, whereafter he joined the Blue Bulls from 2008 till present. He became Springbok Number 804 when he made his Test debut for the Springboks against the British & Irish Lions on 4 July 2009. He is now a seasoned Springbok with Tours to France, Italy & England in 2009 and the British Isles & Ireland in 2010.

As one of the senior members in the squad, Kirchner will be an important cog in his side’s performances in 2013. The fullback, who was also capped at outside centre for the Springboks, needs to show all his attacking, defensive and tactical virtues, not only to provide guidance, but also to impress at national level where competition is stiffening up for the fullback position.

If one can critisize Zane it would be that he overuses the up-and-under kick from the back a bit too much, but one has to remember that this tactic was a large part of the Bulls game plan a few seasons ago… the so-called kick and chase… and apply pressure.

 

Name: Petrus Jürgen (Jürgen) Visser:

Position Fullback / Flyhalf
Height 1.91
Weight 92 kg
Date of Birth 13 September 1989
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2009 vs Elephants
Provincial Caps 22
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jurgen Visser

Jürgen attended Vredendal Primary School and then attended Paarl Gymnasium where he matriculated in 2007. In his matric year he played for Western Province in the Coca-Cola Craven Week. In 2008 he played for Western Province in the Under 19 Competition and in 2010 he played for Western Province in the Under 21 Competition and for Maties in the FNB Varsity Cup.

Jürgen is currently studying Sports Management at Tukkies where he also went on to play in the FNB Varsity Cup in 2011, part of the Tukkies side who made it all the way to the Final.

In 2011 he finally got his chance to also play for the Blue Bulls in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

Super Rugby debutant Visser has steadily risen through the ranks at domestic level and should be successful in Super Rugby as well. A schoolboy and age group star at Western Province, Visser graduated into provincial rugby after showing real promise in the Varsity Cup competition, first with Maties and then Tuks. He headed north for more game time in 2011 where he forced his way into the Blue Bulls Currie Cup team.

In 2012 he still did not feature in Super Rugby but he certainly got more game time and developed in his role as fullback at the Blue Bulls.

Career:

  • 2007 – Western Province (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2008 – Vodacom Western Province (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2009 – Vodacom Western Province (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Western Province (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2010 – Maties (FNB Varsity Cup), Western Province (Vodacom Cup)
  • 2011 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls (Super Rugby), Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)

 

Name: Clayton Blommetjies:

Position Fullback / Wing
Height 1.85
Weight 85 kg
Date of Birth 30 August 1990
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2012 v Griquas
Provincial Caps 6
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Clayton Blommetjies

Clayton attended Paarlzicht Primary School and New Orleans Secondary School where he represented Boland Under 16 at the Coca-Cola Craven Week in 2006, Boland Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in 2007, and then Boland Under 18 Academy Week in 2008.

In 2009 to 2011 he represented Tuks in the Varsity Cup. In 2010 he represented the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup and played for the Blue Bulls in the Under 21 Competition.

In 2011 he represented the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup.

In 2012 he represented the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup and made his Currie Cup debut in the opening match of the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division against Griquas

The gutsy 21 year old player is solid on defence and under the high ball, very dangerous on attack and creates a number of chances for players on his outside when joining the line at speed.

He is decidedly light and small in modern rugby terms, but makes up for it in heart and determination.

Career:

  • 2006 – Boland (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2007 – Boland (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2008 – Under 18 Elite Squad (Elite Squads), SA Schools Academy (SA Schools), Boland (Under 18 Academy Week)
  • 2009 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), SA Students (SA Students), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2010 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup)
  • 2012 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (HSBC Sevens World Series Glasgow & London), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)

 

Name: Sampie Mastriet:

Position Wing
Height 1.80
Weight 85 kg
Date of Birth 3 August 1990
Place of Birth Mariasdal
Provincial Debut 2012 v Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 2
Provincial Points 5
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Sampie Mastriet

Sampie attended Bonnievale Primary School and HTS Drostdy.

He represented Boland from Under 16 level through to Under 18 and Under 21 level from 2006 to 2008, before going to Pretoria to further his rugby career.

A serious speedster, Sampie is also a Sevens Blitzbok and has played for Tuks in the FNB Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls Under 21 in the Under 21 Competition as well as South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championship, all in 2009.

In 2010 he played for Tuks in the FNB Varsity Cup, the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup and South Africa’s Blitzbokke in the IRB Sevens World Series.

In 2011 he played for the Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup.

Despite limited opportunities in 2012, Mastriet continued his rich vein of try-scoring form for the men in blue by scoring a try in his ABSA Currie Cup debut in 2012. This after scoring 16 tries in 12 matches for the Blue Bulls Under 21 side the year before. A real finisher with great pace, the former SA Sevens and SA Under 20 player will be looking to make 2013 his breakthrough year.

Career:

  • 2006 – Boland (Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week)
  • 2007 – Boland (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week)
  • 2008 – Boland (Under 21 Promotion / Relegation), Under 18 Elite Squad (Elite Squads), Boland (Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week), Boland (ABSA Under 21 Competition)
  • 2009 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championships), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 19 Competition)
  • 2010 – Tuks (FNB Varsity Cup), Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), South Africa (IRB Junior World Championship), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies), Blue Bulls (ABSA Under 21 Competition), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)
  • 2012 – Vodacom Blue Bulls (Vodacom Cup), Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division)

 

Additional Players:

A number of the Bulls players already discussed in other positions, like Francois Hougaard (who primarily will play scrumhalf), will also be used on the wing. So too possibly Wynand Olivier, who has represented the Springboks on the wing, apart from his regular berth at centre. As additional wing there is Travis Ismaiel.

Last year’s cover at fullback was a bit scrappy after Zane Kirchner but Jürgen Visser has come on in leaps and bounds and in Ulrich Beyers (discussed under the centres) and the young and dynamic Jesse Kriel the cupboard is suddenly very packed.

 

Starters:

I think it is logical to assume that Bjorn Basson (No 11), JJ Engelbrecht (No 14) and Zane Kirchner (No 15) are the most likely starters, but don’t discount old Akona Ndungane… the old horse is still reliable.

Francois Hougaard WILL help out on the wing too and Jürgen Visser should see more Super Rugby game time this year compared to last at fullback.

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Recent Comments

  • Jeraldjay 21 Sep 2014, 12:48 SAST - I normally get pissed off when scribes over glorify a player and especially if the player is an AB. But...
  • leon 21 Sep 2014, 11:48 SAST - The Bulls are just plain shit. They dominated the scrum for the first time in 10 years and they fumbled...
  • NZINCHINA 21 Sep 2014, 09:55 SAST - Whitelock, Messam & Kaino all fit enough for selection :grin: :grin:
  • Gumboots 21 Sep 2014, 08:23 SAST - Ben wrote: Nog ‘n dag op die sportveld wat niks nuuts bring nie; Durban se krieketspan wat gechoke het toe...
  • Gumboots 21 Sep 2014, 08:17 SAST - Well done Sharks! Only watched the highlights but the Bulls were on top the whole of the first half until...
  • Te Rangatira 21 Sep 2014, 01:17 SAST - Probably is the best thing for the England RFU & the Premiership... Just hope the IRB will be as lenient...


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