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Herewith the Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby players expected to take part in the 2014 Super Rugby season, as detailed by us PRIOR to the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Some of these players might not actually make the Super Rugby squad, but at this early juncture is most likely to be in the Vodacom Bulls plans for 2014.

 

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 33
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Lions
Super Rugby Caps 38
Super Rugby Points 20
Test Debut 2011 v Australia
Test Caps 3
Test Points 0
Dean Greyling

Three 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 but often with suspect technique on the loosehead side of the scrum, he impressed a lot of people in 2011 and 2012, even making the Springbok side. 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:

  • 2013: Bulls & Blue Bulls (Super Rugby & Currie Cup)
  • 2012: Bulls & Blue Bulls (Super Rugby & Springboks)
  • 2011: Bulls & Blue Bulls (Super Rugby & Springboks)
  • 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)

In my opinion, Dean’s shares are still down and I expect him to work hard on his shortcomings and rectify a lot of those in 2014.

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 1.90
Weight 120 kg
Date of Birth January 23 1985
Place of Birth Kempton Park
Provincial Debut 2007
Provincial Caps 116
Provincial Points 35
Super Rugby Debut 2008 v Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 92
Super Rugby Points 40
Test Debut 2011 v Australia
Test Caps 4
Test Points 0
Werner Kruger

Kruger improved season upon season until 2011 when a call-up to the Springboks in 2011 was no surprise. In 2012 and 2013 there was a bit of a slump in his form but he still regularly made the Bulls Super Rugby side. 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 to re-generate the basics of scrumming and show a re-newed passion for rugby in 2014.

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, he will play a vital role in the Bulls side in 2014.

Kruger’s contribution does not finish with scrumming, he was known to be solid on defense and often enough topped the stats with cleans at the ruck and his support play at line-out time was 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.”

I do not think Werner is in contention for the Springboks and has certainly been usurped by Frans Malherbe at the Stormers and Lourens Adriaanse who will be at the Sharks in 2014.

 

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 30
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2009 v Blues
Super Rugby Caps 31
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Frik Kirsten

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 added depth and brains to the Bulls pack. He is versatile and predominantly plays at tighthead prop where he rotates with Werner Kruger in the regular match-day squad and bench. The ability to scrum both sides of the scrum, makes 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.

Frik has Bok ambitions and some sports scribes rate Frik as having huge potential. In a struggling Bulls front row and scrum, may this be a year that he proves them right!

 

Name: Marcel van der Merwe:

Position Prop
Height 1.89
Weight 112
Date of Birth 21 October 1990
Place of Birth Welkom
Provincial Debut 2011 for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 38
Provincial Points 65
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 but 2013 was a nightmare season with a long term injury keeping him out of the side.

Marcel seems to have lost weight and also has not returned to good form since returning from injury but he has potential and is versatile and could push Werner Kruger and Frik Kirsten hard for the tighthead spot in 2014.

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 he could stay injury free in 2014 he could become part of the Bulls scrum rejuvination in 2014. Springbok colours is not reasonable prospect for him in 2014.

 

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 10
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2013 vs Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 12
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Morné Mellett

Morné is a loosehead prop who has battled injuries in the last couple of seasons. He was drafted into the Vodacom Bulls 2012 touring squad to Australasia, although he did not play and made his Super Rugby debut against the Stormers in 2013 but only played about half the regular season before injury struck, leaving him to only return during the Currie Cup in 2013.

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 now has 10 Blue Bulls senior caps and 12 Super Rugby caps for the Bulls.

He also played for Tuks in the 2010 and 2011 Varsity Cup competitions.

 

Starters:

The Bulls are virtually assured to start with their two frontline props, Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger but I expect Morné Mellett and Frik Kirsten to become the regular starters partway through the season.

There is no reason why the Bulls scrum, with these props anchoring their scrum should not be right up there in the quality stakes, as they proved in 2013 when the Bulls easily won the South African Conference of Super Rugby.

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, but this year begs a scrumming rejuvination from the bulls front row.

 

Hookers:

Name: Mbongeni Theo “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 9
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

Bongi attended St Alban’s College in Pretoria.

In 2012 as a 21-year old, he gained valuable experience, not only getting game time off the bench in two outings in Super Rugby, but also learning from senior players in the squad. The former SA Under-20 rep has a proven skill set, a low centre of gravity, which makes him good ball carrier and very good fitness levels.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Griffons U16 Grant Khomo Week
  • 2008 – Blue Bulls U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Blue Bulls U18 Coca Cola Craven Week, SASchools, SARU U18 Elite Squad
  • 2010 – Blue Bulls Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – TUT Vikings in Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls Under 21 Competition, South Africa IRB Junior World Championship squad member
  • 2012 – Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls Under 21 Competition, Super Rugby, Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Tuks Varsity Cup, Vodacom Cup, Bulls Super Rugby squad member, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division

With the departure of Chiliboy Ralepelle and Willie Wepener, the 23-year old Bongi might just become the starting hooker for the Bulls in 2014 but Bandise Maku and Callie Visagie has more experience in Super Rugby. His rlatively smaller stature might count against him becoming the premier hooker at the Bulls.

I call Bongi “Little Mike Tyson”, due to his appearance.

 

Name: Bandise Grey “Bandise” Maku:

Position Hooker
Height 1.86m
Weight 106 kg
Date of Birth 24 July 1986
Place of Birth King William’s Town
Provincial Debut 2006 for Vodacom Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 90
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2008 for Vodacom Bulls against the Chiefs, Rotorua
Super Rugby Caps 48
Super Rugby Points 40
Test Debut 2010 vs Italy
Test Caps 1 Test & 3 Tour matches
Test Points 0
Bandise Maku

Bandise is a product of Dale College in King William’s Town.

He represented his local team Border Bulldogs at the 2004 Craven Week before moving to the Blue Bulls, for whom he played rugby at youth levels.

He was first named in a Blue Bulls squad during the 2006 Vodacom Cup. He made his Currie Cup debut the following season, coming on as a 72nd minute substitute against Boland Cavaliers. A year later, he was also included in Bulls squad for the 2008 Super 14 season, making his debut in Rotorua against the Chiefs.

He joined the Lions for the 2011 Super Rugby season, where he started in 14 games. He also played Currie Cup rugby for the Golden Lions, where he was also a member of the starting line-up which defeated the Sharks 42–16 to win the 2011 Currie Cup Premier Division. He was injured for the entire 2012 Super Rugby season, but did play some Currie Cup rugby at the end of the 2012 season.

In 2013 he joined the Southern Kings for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

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

On the international front his first tour of duty for his country was with the Springboks to France, Italy, Ireland & England in late 2009. He earned his first cap for his country playing against Italy. In 2010, Maku was again called up for duty with the Springboks in a November tour of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. His call came two matches into the tour on 18 November 2010, after a controversial incident in which two other Springbok players tested positive for a banned substance.

Maku makes a welcome return to the Bulkraal where he played all his junior rugby, won a Super Rugby title and became a Springbok. A durable and skilled hooker, Maku could help the Bulls to great things.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Border U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2005 – South Africa Under 19, Blue Bulls Under 21 Competition
  • 2006 – Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls ABSA Under 21 Competition, South Africa IRB Junior World Championship
  • 2007 – Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, SA Emerging Players – IRB Nations Cup, Blue Bulls ABSA Under 21 Competition, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Friendlies, Bulls Super Rugby, lue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Friendlies, Bulls Super Rugby, South Africa – Emerging Springboks vs British & Irish Lions, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks
  • 2010 – Blue Bulls Currie Cup Friendlies, Bulls Super Rugby, Springboks (End Of Year), Blue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Golden Lions Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Southern Kings Super Rugby, EP Kings Currie Cup First Division, EP Kings Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division

Bandise is by far the most experienced Bulls hooker going into Super Rugby of 2014 but he will have to up his play dramatically in 2014 to get and keep a starting berth for Super Rugby because he looked jaded and a shadow of a player in the Blue Bulls Currie Cup campaign in 2013.

 

Name: Callie-Theron “Callie” Visagie:

Position Hooker
Height 1.88m
Weight 108 kg
Date of Birth 9 July 1988
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2012 for MTN Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 11
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 23
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Callie Visagie

Callie is a product of Paarl Boys’ High School and his playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – WP U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2007 – WP ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – WP ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Maties in Varsity Cup, WP Vodacom Cup, WP ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Maties in Varsity Cup, WP Vdacom Cup, WP ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Maties in Varsity Cup (Captain)
  • 2012 – MTN Lions Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions Vodacom Cup, Bulls Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions Currie Cup Premier Division, Blue Bulls Currie Cup Premier Division

Visagie was one of the first players to be approached by the Vodacom Bulls when the MTN Lions lost their Super status, a testament to his abilities in a position where depth is a problem. An intelligent player with strong first phase play and great with ball in hand, Visagie needs to push the incumbents all the way. A mature and dedicated player, Visagie is an ideal squad member.

Callie will have to improve quite a lot in 2014 to hold down either a starting role or bench role in the Bulls Super Rugby campaign.

 

Starters:

The Bulls have a real problem at hooker, with Bandise Maku not in form in the latter stages of 2013, with Bongi Mbonambi relatively inexperienced and Callie Visagie yet to show he has the full aptitude for Bulls Super Rugby. My guess is that Bandise Maku will be the preferred starter as the competition starts off and with Bongi Mbonambi on the bench. One of the 3 hookers need to step up to the plate and show his rivals that he is the one to unseat from a starting berth.

 

Locks:

Name: Flip van der Merwe:

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

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

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

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

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

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

His playing career is as follows:

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

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

 

Name: Paul Willemse:

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

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

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

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

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

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

His playing career is as follows:

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

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

 

Name: Grant Neil “Grant” Hattingh:

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

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

He played age-group level rugby for Western Province between 2009 and 2011 and also represented Maties in the 2011 and 2012 Varsity Cup competitions. He broke into the Western Province Vodacom Cup team after the completion of the 2012 Varsity Cup and made his provincial debut on 21 April 2012 against the Eagles in Oudtshoorn. Hattingh was a 35th minute replacement for Tyrone Holmes in a 29-14 win for Province.

In April 2012, Hattingh received a surprise call-up to the injury depleted Lions and he made his Super Rugby debut on 27 April 2012 as a 50th minute replacement for Hendrik Roodt as the Lions lost 34-20 to the Brumbies.

In July 2012, he announced that he was joining the Blue Bulls on a two and a half year deal. At the end of 2013, he signed a contract extension to tie him to the Blue Bulls until October 2016.

His playing career is as follows:

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

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

 

Name: David Bullbring:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His playing career is as follows:

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

David should also get regular Super Rugby game time in 2014

 

Name: Daniel Pieter “Reniel” Hugo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

His playing career is as follows:

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

 

Additional players:

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

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

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

 

Starters:

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

 

Loose Forwards:

Name: Deon Stegmann:

Position Loose Forward (Openside)
Height 1.81m
Weight 104kg
Date of Birth 22 March 1986
Place of Birth Cradock
Provincial Debut 2005 for Vodacom Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 57
Provincial Points 40
Super Rugby Debut 2008 for the Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 75
Super Rugby Points 25
Test Debut 6 November 2010 vs Irealnd
Test Caps 6
Test Points 0
Deon Stegmann

Deon Stegmann attended Cradock Primary School and 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 also attended the University of South Africa (UNISA).

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. 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.

At the Bulls, Stegmann played in a back row combination together with Springbok flank, Dewald Potgieter (now in Japan) and Springbok No 8, Pierre Spies, winning 2 Super 14 titles in 2 successive years as well as the Currie Cup.

In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2015.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Free State – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2005 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls – Under 19 Competition
  • 2006 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2007 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Bulls – MTN test, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Tri Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Deon’s long term injury during the whole Currie Cup campaign in 2013 leaves us wondering whether he has recovered sufficientlyand is fit enough to combat in the Super Rugby campaign. He always gives his all and is a fetcher of note, who was sorely missed by the Blue Bulls in the latter stages of 2013. He should start at openside flank for the Bulls.

 

Name: Arno Botha:

Position Loose Forward (Blindside or No 8)
Height 1.90m
Weight 103kg
Date of Birth 26 October 1991
Place of Birth Modimolle (Nylstroom)
Provincial Debut 2011 for Blue Bulls vs Pumas
Provincial Caps 16 PLUS 2 Vodacom Cup games
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for the Bulls vs Reds
Super Rugby Caps 22
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut 8 June 2013 vs Italy
Test Caps 2
Test Points 0
Arno Botha

Arno Botha is a product of Nylstroom Primary School, Nylstroom High School and the University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He played Under 18 rugby for Limpopo in the Craven Week in 2009.

In 2010 he joined the Blue Bulls and played in the ABSA Under 19 Competition.

In 2011 he played for Tuks in the Varsity Cup, played for the Blue Bulls in the ABSA Under 21 Competition, Captained South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championships and already played Currie Cup Premier Division Rugby for the Blue Bulls.

There is a very bright future ahead of this 22 year old, who is rapidly progressing through the rugby ranks. He toured with the Springboks to the Northern Hemisphere in November last year, barely a year after captaining the South African Under 2o team to the IRB Junior World Championship.

In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2016.

He was was also named South Africa Under 20 player of the year.

Botha made his debut for the Springboks against Italy on 8 June 2013 at Kings Park Stadium in Durban as the No. 7 flank. In his second test against Scotland on 15 June 2013 in Nelspruit, Botha left the field after four minutes of play, having ruptured ligaments in his left knee.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2009 – Limpopo – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2010 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships (Captain), Vodacom Blue Bulls =- ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springbok tour member – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Series

Arno should make the Bulls blindside starting position, hoping that his knee injury is a thing of the past.

 

Name: Pierre Johan “Pierre” Spies:

Position Loose Forward (No 8)
Height 1.94m
Weight 108kg
Date of Birth 8 June 1985
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2005 for Blue Bulls vs Griquas
Provincial Caps 17
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2005 for Bulls vs Brumbies
Super Rugby Caps 102
Super Rugby Points 125
Test Debut 15 July 2006 vs Wallabies in Brisbane aged 21
Test Caps 53
Test Points 35
Pierre Spies

Pierre Spies is a product of Skuilkrans Primary School, Afrikaans Hoër Seunsskool (Affies) in Pretoria and attended the University of Pretoria.

He made his senior debut for the Blue Bulls in 2005 in a match against the Griquas. Spies 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.

Although he plays as a loose forward, he has considerable pace, having been timed at 10.70 seconds over 100 m. 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. Spies is known as one of the best ball carriers in the game – he can step, run around or over a defender.

After starring for the U21 Springbok side that played in the U21 Rugby World Cup France, Spies made his debut in the Springbok’s 49 – 0 drubbing at the hands of Australia in the 2006 Tri Nations Series. Spies was largely anonymous in that game, however, Springbok coach Jake White picked him again for the home-leg of the tournament. There, Spies turned in two “Man-of-the-Match” performances, most notably in the win over the All Blacks in Rustenburg, and in the victory over Australia in Durban.

He was widely praised for these performances against world-class opposition, but unfortunately was injured in a dismal Springbok showing against Ireland on the end of year tour. This injury ruled him out for the rest of the tour, as well as much of the 2007 Super 14 season, but has since made his comeback for the Bulls in their 49 – 12 victory over southern rivals the Stormers.

Spies was believed to be a certainty for Jake White’s squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup to be played in France in September, and his selection was confirmed on 21 July. However, nine days later, he was forced to withdraw from the World Cup squad after blood clots were found in his lungs. After a check up with another health expert, it was stated that Spies could return to the World Cup squad if a third opinion was positive. However, the third opinion confirmed the original diagnosis, and Spies remained off the team. He returned to the Springboks’ team for the 2008 June internationals against Wales.

While being in treatment and under the eye of the team’s physicians, Spies kept on training and as soon as he received the green light, he returned to competitive rugby . That year he was nominated SA Currie Cup Player of the Year, SA Player of the Year, International Player of the Year and got the award for SA’s most Promising Player of the Year, as well as Sportsman of the Year.

He married Juanne Weidemann, in December 2008.

In 2009, he played well in the Super 14 and was selected for the Springboks to play against the British & Irish Lions. He was also selected for the end of the year tour, but injured his finger and was ruled out.

He continued at the Bulls and Blue Bulls and took over the captaincy mantle from Victor Matfield when Victor retired from playing rugby.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, South Africa – IRB Under 21 World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours
  • 2007 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations
  • 2008 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tour
  • 2009 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – British & Irish Lions Tour, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – chosen for IRB Rugby World Cup but withdrawn due to blood clot problems
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Tours, Springboks – The Rugby Championship
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Series

Pierre needs to re-invent himself somewhat in 2014, defend better and put in more of the hard graft associated to No 8 play, otherwise he will be overtaken by players in the Bulls for the No 8 spot. He has already been overtaken by Duane Vermeulen for the Springbok No 8 spot. Pierre should be the regular No 8 for the Bulls in Super Rugby 2014.

 

Name: Willem Andries “Wiaan” Liebenberg:

Position Loose Forward (Openside)
Height 1.89m
Weight 105kg
Date of Birth 31 August 1992
Place of Birth Brackenfell
Provincial Debut 2012 for Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup vs Sharks XV
Provincial Caps 18
Provincial Points 50
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Wiaan Liebenberg

Wiaan Liebenberg is a product of Bastion Primary School, Drostdy HTS and the University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented the Boland Cavaliers at the Under 18 Academy and Craven Week tournaments in 2009 and 2010 respectively, which lead to his inclusion in the South African Under 18 High Performance Squad in 2010.

He also moved to the Blue Bulls where he played at Under 19 and Under 21 level. In 2012 and 2013 he also played for Tuks in the Varsity Cup.

He made his debut for the senior team during the 2012 Vodacom Cup in a match against the Sharks XV.

In 2012 Liebenberg was included in and named captain of the SA Under 20 squad for the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship. The team went on to win the tournament for the first time.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2009 – Boland – U18 Academy Week
  • 2010 – Boland – U18 Craven Week, South Africa – SA U18 High Performance
  • 2011 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship (Captain), Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Wiaan has some serious pedigree and talent and should be Deon Stegmann’s understudy for the Openside berth at the Bulls in 2014.

 

Name: Willem Hendrik Jacques “Jacques” du Plessis:

Position Loose Forward (Blindside)
Height 2.01m
Weight 119kg
Date of Birth 12 August 1993
Place of Birth Pongola
Provincial Debut 2013 for Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup vs Limpopo Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 12
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jacques du Plessis

Jacques du Plessis is a product of Pongola Academic Primary School, Ermelo High School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

After representing the Natal Sharks in the 2006 Under 13 Craven Week competition, he moved to Ermelo and subsequently represented the Pumas at the 2009 Under 16 Grant Khomo Week and 2011 Under 18 Craven Week tournaments. His performance in the latter tournament lead to his selection in the 2011 South African Schools squad.

In 2012, he joined the Blue Bulls and made 12 appearances for them in the 2012 Under 21 Currie Cup competition.

He made his senior debut for the Blue Bulls in 2013, starting in the 110–0 thrashing of the Limpopo Blue Bulls. He also started the game the following week in an equally impressive 89–10 victory against the Griffons, a match that saw him score his first try, dotting down shortly after halftime.

In July 2013, the Blue Bulls announced that he signed a contract extension until 31 October 2015.

In July 2013, he was named on the bench for the Bulls’ Super Rugby match against the Stormers.

He was included the SA Under 20 squad for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship, where he was one of the few Junior Springbok real performers in the pack with a high tackle and activity rate.

He also played some Varsity Cup rugby, representing the Tuks in the 2013 Varsity Cup competition. Towards the end of 2013 he also represented the depleted Blue Bulls team in the Currie Cup Premier Division.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Natal – U13 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Pumas – U16 Grant Khomo
  • 2011 – Pumas – U18 Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools
  • 2012 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Bulls on bench – Vodacom Super Rugby, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

With Arno Botha back from injury, Jacques du Plessis would most probably see some game time off the bench, covering both lock and blindside flank.

 

Name: Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht:

Position Loose Forward (Blindside or No 8)
Height 1.94m
Weight 112kg
Date of Birth 10 June 1985
Place of Birth Bellville
Provincial Debut 2007 for Western Province
Provincial Caps 82
Provincial Points 40
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Southern Kings
Super Rugby Caps 17
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Vleis Engelbrecht

Vleis Engelbrecht is a product of Fanie Theron Primary School and Monument High School.

He started playing for the Western Province, being involved in their Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup squads. In 2008 he moved to the SWD Eagles where he played for two and a half years before joining the Eastern Province Kings for the 2011 season. He was also named in the Southern Kings squad for the 2013 Super Rugby season, where he excelled to such a degree that the absense of Luke Watson was not felt.

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

In 2010 and 2011 he represented the Blitzbokke in the HSBC Sevens World Series and also represented the SA Barbarians South team in 2012.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Boland – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2007 – Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Vodacom WP – Vodacom Cup, SWD Eagles – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2009 – SWD Eagles – Vodacom Cup, SWD Eagles – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, SWD – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, SWD Eagles – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation
  • 2010 – SWD – Vodacom Cup, SWD – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, SWD – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, SWD Eagles – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation, Blitzbokke – HSBC Sevens World Series George
  • 2011 – EP Kings – Vodacom Cup, South African Kings – IRB Nations Cup, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2012 – EP Kings – Vodacom Cup, SA Barbarians South – Castle Incoming Tours, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2013 – Southern Kings – Vodacom Super Rugby, Southern Kings – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

As one of the stand-out players for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby in 2013, Vleis’ form took a serious dip during the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division season for the Blue Bulls and he will have to get his fitness and mojo back if he has aspirations to lift any of the 3 Springboks amongst the Bulls loose forwards from their starting berths. He is a versatile loose forward, covering both blindside and No 8 and will probably get a number of bench impact roles in 2014.

 

Name: Jonathan Montague “Jono” Ross:

Position Loose Forward (No 8)
Height 1.91m
Weight 110kg
Date of Birth 27 October 1990
Place of Birth Sandton, Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2011 for Blue Bulls vs SWD Eagles in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 22
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Bulls vs Southern Kings
Super Rugby Caps 4
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jono Ross

Jono Ross is a product of St. Peters Primary School, St. Stithians High School, University of South Africa (Unisa) and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He started off playing for the Golden Lions and represented them at the 2007 and 2008 Under 18 Academy Week tournaments. He also represented them in the 2008 Under 19 Currie Cup competition.

He then joined the Blue Bulls and played for their Under 21 team in 2010 and 2011.

He made his senior debut in 2011, coming on as a substitute in the 2011 Vodacom Cup match against SWD Eagles, as well as in the quarter-final match against former team the Golden Lions.

He made his debut in the Currie Cup competition a few months later in 2011 against Griquas and made one further appearance that season. He established himself as a regular in the team for the 2012 Vodacom Cup, making eight starts and scoring a try.

At the conclusion of the 2012 Vodacom Cup, he joined English side Saracens for one season, making two appearances in the 2012–13 LV Cup.

In 2013 he returned to the Blue Bulls and was called into the Bulls Super Rugby side for their match against the Kings and making 4 appearances in total during the 2013 Super Rugby season.

In only his third ever Currie Cup match – in the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division season against Western Province – he was named captain of the Blue Bulls, becoming the first-ever English-speaking captain of the team. At the end of 2013, he signed a contract extension to tie him to the Blue Bulls until October 2016.

In addition to playing for the Blue Bulls, he also represented Tuks in the annual Varsity Cup competition in 2011, 2012 and 2013, also acting as Captain in the latter years.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Lions – U18 Academy Week
  • 2008 – Lions – U18 Academy Week, South Africa – SA Schools Academy, Golden Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Saracens in LV Cup
  • 2013 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division (Captain)

Jono Ross is one of the Bulls loose forwards on the fringes of selection in a match day squad, but if injuries occur amongst the Springbok loose forwards at the Bulls he could well get eiether a starting or bench berth in 2014.

 

Starters:

The Bulls will probably start with Deon Stegmann (No 6 Openside), Arno Botha (No 7 Blindside) and Pierre Spies (No 8), with either or both Jacques du Plessis and Vleis Engelbrecht on the bench. My personal choices would have been different though, with Pierre spies NOT in the starting lineup but rather with Arno Botha and Vleis Engelbrecht at Blindside and No 8 (either could play blindside or No 8 and could even swap in a game)… the reason being the Bulls need that harder edge on attack and defence, which Pierre Spies no longer provides (or as some would have is never provided). Both Arno Botha and Vleis Engelbrecht also play more towards the ball which would strenghten the breakdown contest of the Bulls.

Whatever the situation, the Bulls have great loose forwards and enough depth there to make sides cringe at the prospect of playing against the Bulls loosies. Here’s hoping the injuries stay away for some injury prone Bulls loose forwards.

 

Scrumhalves:

Name: Francois Hougaard:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.79m
Weight 91kg
Date of Birth 6 April 1988
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2007 for WP
Provincial Caps 38
Provincial Points 55
Super Rugby Debut 2008 for Vodacom Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 56
Super Rugby Points 90
Test Debut 21 November 2009 vs Italy
Test Caps 27Tests PLUS 3 Tour matches
Test Points 25
Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard is a product of Robertson Primary School and Paul Roos Gymnasium.

He Played for WP in the Under 18 Academy Week in 2005. In 2007 he represented South Africa atthe IRB Under 19 World Championship and represented WP in the Currie Cup Premier Division, ABSA Under 19 and Under 21 Competitions.

In 2008 he moved to the Bulls, where he still aplies his trade and where he has represented them in Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup, ABSA Under 21 Competition, ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division and represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship.

His primary position is scrumhalf, but in recent years his pace has seen him being deployed on the left wing as well for the Bulls. He was born in Paarl, South Africa and 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 2010 he scored a try in the Currie Cup final win 36-24 against the Free State Cheetahs (3rd min) following a superb crosskick from Fourie du Preez for his first final at 21 (the youngest player in the starting line) wearing the number 14 jersey.

In the 2011 Super Rugby season, he showed great promise adapting to his self-proclaimed preferred position of scrumhalf in the absence of Fourie Du Preez, did very well and as a result landed a position in the Springbok World Cup Squad for the 2011 tournament.

Hougaard was selected for the Springboks for the 2011 World Cup and joined off the bench for South Africa’s opening match scoring in the 65th minute in a 17-16 win over Wales. He was however dropped for the second game against Fiji which South Africa won 49-3 but started against Namibia in which he scored two tries and came off the bench against Samoa. South Africa was however knocked out of the cup, losing 11-9 to Australia. Hougaard came on in the 50th minute during that match.

In 2012 Hougaard started all five games at scrumhalf against England and Argentina and scored one try against England. However, he was moved to the wing and his place at scrumhalf taken by Ruan Pienaar in the first Championship Test against Australia on 8 September 2012.

Francois Hougaard was named man-of-the-match in his first start at scrumhalf for the Boks, against the All Blacks in Soweto in 2010. This skilful and nuggety player played for the Bulls in Super Rugby 2013 but was injured for the whole of the Currie Cup Premier Divison season.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Investec WP – U18 Academy Week
  • 2007 – South Africa – IRB Under 19 World Championship, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom WP – ABSA Under 19 Competition, Vodacom WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2008 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Bulls – MTN test, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Southern Kings – British & Irish Lions Tour, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Castle Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Tours, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Lager Incoming Series

When fit, Francois Hougaard is almost a MUST as a starter in the Vodacom Bulls side, as scrumhalf. He will face stiff opposition from Piet van Zyl for the starting berth but my money is on Hougaard to hold that job down for most of the games.

 

Name: Petrus Erasmus “Piet” van Zyl:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.74m
Weight 85kg
Date of Birth 14 September 1989
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2010 for Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 32
Provincial Points 30
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for the Toyota Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 32
Super Rugby Points 25
Test Debut 15 June 2013 vs Scotland
Test Caps 2
Test Points 0
Piet van Zyl

Piet van Zyl is a product of Vrede Primary School, Grey College and the University of the Free State (Shimlas).

He made his Free State Cheetahs senior debut in 2010 and his impressive domestic performances saw him promoted to the Cheetahs side for the 2012 Super Rugby season. To date he has played 62 times in all competitions for the Cheetahs.

On 30 July 2013, the Blue Bulls announced that he would join them after the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division season.

Van Zyl earned his first international call-up ahead of South Africa’s second match in the 2013 June Internationals, taking the place of the injured Jano Vermaak in the squad. He made his Springbok debut against Scotland on 15 June 2013 replacing Ruan Pienaar in the 69th minute of the match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit in a 30-17 win for the home side. He earned his second cap a week later in South Africa’s 56-23 drubbing of Samoa.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – Shimlas – Varsity Cup, Free State – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Free State – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Emerging Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Toyota Cheetahs – Vodacom Super Rugby, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Toyota Cheetahs – Lions Challenge, Toyota Cheetahs – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Lager Incoming Series, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springbok squad member – The Rugby Championship

His meteoric rise sees a terrific battle between him and Francois Hougaard for the starting berth at scrumhalf for the Vodacom Bulls.

 

Name: Rudy Paige:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.69m
Weight 82kg
Date of Birth 2 August 1989
Place of Birth Riversdale
Provincial Debut 2010 for Golden Lions in Vodacom Cup vs Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 30
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 4
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Rudy Paige

Rudy Paige is a product of Saturnus Primary School in Oudtshoorn, Basion High School and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

He played for SWD Eagles at various youth tournaments, but moved to the Golden Lions in 2007.

At the Golden Lions he was included in a senior squad for the first time when he was named in the 2010 Vodacom Cup squad. He made his debut for the Golden Lions in that competition against the Blue Bulls. His first start came a few weeks later in the same competition against the Welwitschias.

After just 12 appearances for the Golden Lions, he joined the Blue Bulls at the start of the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division season.

He was captain of the SA Schools side in 2007 and took part in the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship for the South Africa Under 20 team.

He also played Varsity Cup rugby for UJ in 2011 and 2012.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – SWD – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2006 – SWD – U18 Academy Week
  • 2007 – Lions – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools (Captain), Golden Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – Golden Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships
  • 2010 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Xerox Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, UJ – Varsity Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – UJ – Varsity Cup, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, SA Students, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Rudy is some distance behind Francois Hougaard & Piet van Zyl in the pecking order at the Bulls and should only see game time if one of the 2 prime scrumhalves are injured, as was the case in the Currie Cup of 2013.

 

Starters:

The Bulls should start with Francois Hougaard, with Piet van Zyl on the bench but the season is long and we should see Piet van Zyl start a number of matches. The depth after Hougaard and Van Zyl is iffy with those scrumhalves proving in the Currie Cup season of 2013 why they have serious limitations.

Rudy Paige should only see game time off the bench in case of injury.

In addition the Bulls could also call on Lohan Jacobs as scrumhalf.

 

Flyhalves:

Name: Louis Daniel Van Zyl “Louis” Fouché:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.89m
Weight 98kg
Date of Birth 4 January 1990
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2011 for Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 25
Provincial Points 274
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 19
Super Rugby Points 35
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Louis Fouché

Louis Fouché is a product of Rustenburg Primary School and Rustenburg High School.

He represented the Leopards in 2007 at the Under 18 Academy Week. In 2008 he represented South Africa at the Under 18 Elite Squads and the Leopards at the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week. In 2009 he represented the Leopards in the ABSA Under 21 and Under 19 Competitions.

In 2010 he once again represented the Leopards at the ABSA Under 21 Competition.

He joined the Blue Bulls in 2011 where he was the team’s leading points scorer with 126 points in 9 appearances. Here he also played in the Vodacom Cup, ABSA Under 21 Competition and played in his maiden season of the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2012 He first played Vodacom Super Rugby for the Bulls.

In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2015.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Leopards – U18 Academy Week
  • 2008 – South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, Leopards – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Leopards – ABSA U21 Competition, Leopards, ABSA U19 Competition, Leopards, ABSA U21 Promotion / Relegation
  • 2010 – Leopards – ABSA U21 Competition
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA U21 Competition
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby

Louis should be the starting flyhalf for the Bulls in Super Rugby, if Handré Pollard does not usurp him in 2014.

 

Name: Handré Pollard:

Position Flyhalf / Centre
Height 1.89m
Weight 97kg
Date of Birth 11 March 1994
Place of Birth Somerset West
Provincial Debut July 2012 for Blue Bulls vs Griquas
Provincial Caps 8
Provincial Points 77
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard is a product of Somerset-West Primary School, Paarl Gymnasium and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented Western Province at various youth levels, from the Under 13 Craven Week in 2007 to the Under 18 Craven Week in 2011.

He earned a call-up to the victorious SA Under 20 team at the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship, where he finished 4th top scorer overall with 42 points. He also scored 37 points for the SA Schools team in 2012.

He was also included in the training group that toured Argentina in preparation for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship. He was then included in the squad for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship.

He joined the Blue Bulls in July 2012, making his provincial senior debut in the 40–32 victory over Griquas. He also represented Tuks in the 2013 Varsity Cup and was the premier flyhalf for the Vodacom Blue Bulls side in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division season.

In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2017..

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – WP – U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2010 – WP – U16 Grant Khomo Week
  • 2011 – WP – U 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2012 – South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, South Africa – SA Schools
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA U21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Handré Pollard is still extremely young, not yet 20 years old and I think a lot of people expected to fast a meteoric rise for him in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at the Blue Bulls in 2013. He should develop in 2014 and the open question is whether he could follow in the massive boots of Morné Steyn at the Bulls in 2014… only time will tell.

 

Name: Dirk Jacobus “Derick” Hougaard:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.76m
Weight 85kg
Date of Birth 4 January 1983
Place of Birth Citrusdal
Provincial Debut 2002 for Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 68 for Blue Bulls PLUS, Leicester (13), Saracens (33)
Provincial Points 712 for Blue Bulls, 98 (Leicester), 269 (Saracens)
Super Rugby Debut 2003 for Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 43
Super Rugby Points 399
Test Debut 11 October 2003 vs Uruguay
Test Caps 8
Test Points 69
Derick Hougaard

Derick Hougaard is a product of Piketberg Primary School, Boland Agricultural School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

In the 2002 Currie Cup final against the Golden Lions, Hougaard broke Naas Botha’s 15 year record for points scored in a Currie Cup final of 24 by scoring 26, (1 try, 2 drop goals and 5 penalties). This feat at the start of his career and his excellent goal kicking success ratio during the following years earned him the accolade “Liefling van Loftus”, an Afrikaans phrase meaning the “sweetheart of Loftus Versfeld Stadium” in Pretoria. Each time Hougaard scored points for the Bulls at Loftus, the chorus of a Gé Korsten song named “Liefling” was played in the stadium.

Hougaard made his Test debut at the age of 20 for the Springboks during the 2003 World Cup as a reserve during the 72 to 6 win over Uruguay at Subiaco Oval in Perth, he also scored his first international points, successful in a conversion. After resuming his role as a reserve in the next match against England, Hougaard was promoted to flyhalf for the remaining 3 games that South Africa played at the World Cup. At the close of the World Cup, Hougaard, with 5 caps to his name had produced 48 points, including 2 tries. In the 2003 world cup match against Samoa, Hougaard was knocked out by a legal but hard tackle from Brian Lima.

The 2007 Super 14 semi-final saw Hougaard scoring all of his side’s 27 points, by means of 8 penalties and a drop goal, against the Canterbury Crusaders at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria. This equalled Adrian Cashmore of the Auckland Blues’s 1998 record for most points by an individual in a Super Rugby semi-final. This victory was historic since it set up the first ever Super Rugby final between 2 South African teams. The 2007 Super 14 season was also a personal best in Hougaard’s Super Rugby career, having scored 161 points in 14 matches.

In 2008, Hougaard signed for Leicester Tigers rejoining previous Blue Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer as a replacement for Andy Goode who had moved to CA Brive. He made his début against Bath in October 2008.

In 2009, Hougaard signed for Saracens, where he played in 33 matches for them, scoring 269 points. He suffered a severe heel injury and eventually decided to return to South Africa, where he has not played competative rugby since leaving Saracens. In stead he has recently been used as kicking coach for the Blue Bulls Junior sides.

Rumours would have us believe that he MIGHT make a return to the playing field at the Bulls in 2014, yet I would not bet serious money on that eventuality.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2002 – Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls – U19 Competition, Blue Bulls – Bankfin Currie Cup
  • 2003 – Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB U21 World Cup, Mobil Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – RWC Warm-ups, Springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup
  • 2004 – Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, South Africa – IRB U21 World Championships
  • 2005 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2007 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leicester Tigers
  • 2009 – Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Saracens vs Springboks – Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours

As there is only an outside chance of Derick Hougaard returning to the playing field, I would rather speculate that the Bulls would use Jurgen Visser in an emergency situation to cover at flyhalf.

 

Starters:

This is one of the positions where the Bulls are light in their selection of players of high quality for Super Rugby 2014.

The Bulls should start with either Louis Fouché or Handré Pollard, depending on how both fare after Louis Fouché’s long term injury. Louis probably has the inside track as he has been Morné Steyn’s understudy at the Bulls for some time now.

Following speculation that Derick Hougaard might return to the field of play, after his prolonged stint on the sidelines recovering from a bit of a debilitating heel injury, I have included him as third option at flyhalf, but it could all be rumour that he will return to play for the Bulls.

Tony Jantjies, younger brother of Elton Jantjies, would probably be next in line as flyhalf and in an emergency Jurgen Visser, although probably the Bulls key fullback can also double as a make-shift flyhalf.

 

Midfield:

Name: Jan Lodewyk “Jan” Serfontein:

Position Inside Centre
Height 1.87m
Weight 98kg
Date of Birth 15 April 1993
Place of Birth Bloemfontein
Provincial Debut 2012 for Vodacom Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 11
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Vodacom Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 12
Super Rugby Points 10
Test Debut 8 June 2013 vs Italy in Durban
Test Caps 9
Test Points 5
Jan Serfontein

Jan Serfontein is a product of Grey Junior (PE), Grey High (PE) and Grey College.

He represented Eastern Province at the Under 13 Coca-Cola Craven Week in 2006 and also at Under 16 level at the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week in 2008 and was also a member of the South African U16 Elite Squads in 2008.

In 2009 and still Under 16 he represented Free State at the U16 Grant Khomo Week.

In 2011 he represented Free State at the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and South Africa at SA Schools level.

In 2012 he joined the Blue Bulls where he immediately advanced to Vodacom Cup level, as well as playing i the ABSA Under 21 and Under 19 Competitions, as well as playing for South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship. At the tournament he was named as 2012 IRB Junior Player of the Tournament and later as IRB Junior Player of the Year. He made his senior Currie Cup Premier Division debut in the same year.

In 2013 he played Super Rugby for the Vodacom Bulls as well as ABSA Under 21 rugby, Currie Cup Premier Division rugby. He was also included in the squad for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship, but was later withdrawn in order to make him available for the senior national team.

He made his debut for the Springboks versus Italy on 8 June 2013 at Kings Park Stadium in Durban, playing from the bench as a replacement for Bryan Habana from the 71st minute and already has 9 Springbok caps to his name at age 20.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Eastern Province – U13 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – South Africa – U16 Elite Squads, Eastern Province – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2009 – Free State – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2011 – Free State – U 18Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools
  • 2012 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vopdacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Lager Incoming Series, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Lager Outgoing Tour

Jan Serfontein is virtually assured of being the prime No 12 (inside centre) at the Bulls in 2014 and will also be looking to add to his impressive 9 Test caps.

 

Name: William Thomas “William” Small-Smith:

Position Centre
Height 1.84m
Weight 90kg
Date of Birth 31 March 1992
Place of Birth Johanesburg
Provincial Debut 2011 for Blue Bulls against Free State Cheetahs in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 6
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
William Small-Smith

William Small-Smith is a product of Fairlands Primary School, Grey College (Bloemfonein) and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented the Golden Lions at the 2005 Under 13 Craven Week. He then went to Grey College in Bloemfontein, where he represented Free State Cheetahs at Under 16 and Under 18 levels between 2008 and 2010, during which time he was included in an Elite Squad, the SA Academy squad and a SA Under 18 High Performance squad.

He joined the Blue Bulls in 2011 and made his first class debut in the 2011 Vodacom Cup game against the Free State Cheetahs. He also made a further 14 appearances for the Under 19 team that season.

At the end of 2011, however, he linked up with the SA Sevens squad for three legs of the 2011–12 IRB Sevens World Series. He returned to represent the victorious SA Under 20 team in the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship.

Small-Smith also represented Tuks in the 2013 Varsity Cup, but picked up an injury prior to the final against Maties.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Golden Lions – U13 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – South Africa – U16 Elite Squads, Konika Minolta Free State – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2009 – Free State – U18 Academy Week, SA Academy – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA U18 High Preformance SA Schools
  • 2010 – Free State – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA U18 High Performance
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition, South Africa – HSBC Sevens World Series in South Africa
  • 2012 – South Africa – HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

William is highly talented and at outside centre in combination with Jan Serfontein could make a deadly combination, but to all intents and purposes he would likely behind JJ Engelbrecht in the pecking order for the No 13 (outside centre) berth.

 

Name: Johannes Jacobus “JJ” Engelbrecht:

Position Outside Centre / Wing
Height 1.90m
Weight 94kg
Date of Birth 22 February 1989
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2008 for Western Province
Provincial Caps 45
Provincial Points 115
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for Vodacom Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 33
Super Rugby Points 35
Test Debut 18 August 2012 vs Argentina in Cape Town
Test Caps 12
Test Points 20
JJ Engelbrecht

JJ Engelbrecht is a product of Kirkwood Primary School, Grey High School in Port Elizabeth and University of Stellenbosch (Maties).

He represented Eastern Province at the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Weekpreviously represented Western Province from Under 19 and Under 21 level, to Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup Premier Division level before making the move north along with team-mates Johann Sadie and Lionel Cronjé ahead of the 2012 Super Rugby season.

In 2012 he made his Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls and was also selected as a Springbok squad member or the June International Test window, but only made his Springbok debut on 18 August 2012 against Argentina in The Rugby Championship, coming on as a 70th minute replacement. He now already has 12 Test Caps to his name, mostly at No 13 (outside centre).

In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2016.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Eastern Province – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Western Province – Vodacom Cup, Maties – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Western Province – British & Irish Lions Tour, Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory 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 Stormers – Vodacom Super Rugby, DHL Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, DHL Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks squad member – Castle Incoming Tours, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Castle Rugby Championship
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom uper Rugby, Springboks – Castle Lager Incoming Series, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Lager Outgoing Tour

JJ Engelbrecht is virtually assured of a starting berth at the Bulls at No 13 (outside centre) but personally I have doubts about his defensive efforts at centre and would play him at right wing and not at centre.

 

Name: Waylon Michael “Waylon” Murray:

Position Centre
Height 1.905m
Weight 101kg
Date of Birth 27 April 1986
Place of Birth Durban
Provincial Debut 2005 for Sharks
Provincial Caps 86
Provincial Points 115
Super Rugby Debut 2006 for Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 63
Super Rugby Points 40
Test Debut 9 June 2007 vs Samoa in Johannesburg
Test Caps 3 PLUS 1 Tour match
Test Points 0
Waylon Murray

Waylon Murray is a product of Berea West Senior Primary School and Westville Boy’s High School and he has a qualification in Project Management.

During his debut season in the 2006 Currie Cup and Super 14 season for the Natal Sharks and Sharks, Murray showed great promise as a quality centre for his provincial team. Parlaying those performances into his debut Super 14 season in 2007, Murray slowly rose to prominence as one of South Africa’s leading centres, owing in no small part to his tenacity on defence and astute ball distribution skills, often with former provincial team-mate Brad Barritt, providing a valuable link to the wings and offering stability to The Sharks midfield.

Murray’s stunning form saw him being selected for the Springboks away leg of the 2007 Tri Nations where he played in his 3 Tests to date (However he was only selected as the first choice centres were being rested for the World Cup.) The Murray and Barrit partnership was however disrupted after François Steyn’s superb performances in the No 12 jersey for the Springboks during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. This meant that Murray had to challenge Barrit for the No 13 shirt during much of the 2008 Super 14 season, but the partnership resumed during the ABSA Currie Cup due to the absence of François Steyn and Adi Jacobs. However, with the return of the Springboks, and with Adi Jacobs’ stunning form, Murray saw little game time.

Murray was injured during the whole of the 2009 Super 14, and slowly began to be exposed to rugby during the Currie Cup, after a 7 month absence.

On 7 June 2010, the Sharks agreed to release him from his contract so he could join the Lions.

At the end of 2012, his Lions contract expired and he joined the Eastern Province Kings, also being named in the Southern Kings wider training group for the 2013 Super Rugby season. However, having recently undergone knee surgery, he was struggling for full fitness for a large part of the campaign and made just 4 starts and 3 replacement appearances during the 2013 Super Rugby season. He also played in the second leg of the Southern Kings Promotion / Relegation play-off’s series against the MTN Lions. He also made 1 appearance in the 2013 Vodacom Cup for the EP Kings, appearing as a replacement in their match against the Border Bulldogs.

After the 2013 Super Rugby season, he joined the Blue Bulls, signing a contract at the team until October 2015.

A big and powerful centre, Murray has the tendancy to run sideways at times in stead of forward, killing all available space on his outside.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – KZN – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2005 – The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Natal – SA Under 19 Competition, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Wildebeest – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Under 21 World Championship, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2007 – Springboks squad member – World Cup warm-up matches, Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Wildebeest – Vodacom Cup, Springboks squad member – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – EP Kings – Vodacom Cup, Southern Kings – Vodacom Super Rugby, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, Southern Kings – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Waylon Murray might be a bench option for the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

 

Name: Ulrich Beyers:

Position Centre / Fullback
Height 1.90m
Weight 100kg
Date of Birth 22 January 1991
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2011 – for Vodacom Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 27
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Vodacom Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 2
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Ulrich Beyers

Ulrich Beyers is a product of Pongola Academy and Ermelo High School.

He started his career at the Pumas in 2007 at the Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week and also played for the Pumas in 2008 and 2009 at the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week.

In 2010 he played for Western Province in the ABSA Under 19 Competition before moving to the Blue Bulls from 2011.

He made his senior debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup in 2011 and also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championships before playing for the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Under 21 level.

In 2012 he played Vodacom Cup, Under 21 and ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division rugby for the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

In 2013 he started playing Vodacom Cup rugby before playing 2 Super Rugby games for the Vodacom Bulls and also once again played Currie Cup Premier Division rugby for the young Vodacom Blue Bulls side.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Pumas – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2008 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2010 – Western Province – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Ulrich Beyers is somewhat of a utility back and is listed as such at the Bulls and could maybe rather see fullback game time than centre game time. We list him as a centre option due to the fact that the Bulls have various options at fullback.

 

Starters:

The Bulls should start with Jan serfontein and JJ Engelbrecht as the starting centre pairing, with William Small-Smith on the bench. That would not have been my choice though and I would have played Jan Serfontein at No 12 (inside centre), with William Small-Smith at No 13 (outside centre) and I would have utilised JJ Engelbreht on the right wing, to only move to outside centre in case of replacement needs or injury, seeing as Akona Ndungane is getting extremely long in the tooth at right wing and the other right wing candidates a bit light on experience.

 

Back Three:

Name: Bjorn Alberic “Bjorn” Basson:

Position Left Wing / Fullback
Height 1.85m
Weight 84kg
Date of Birth 11 February 1987
Place of Birth King William’s Town
Provincial Debut 2008 for Griquas in Vodacom Cup against Border
Provincial Caps 71
Provincial Points 300
Super Rugby Debut 2007 for Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 55
Super Rugby Points 130
Test Debut 5 June 2010 vs Wales in Cardiff
Test Caps 11
Test Points 15
Bjorn Basson

Bjorn Basson is a product of Central Primary School and Dale College in King William’s Town.

He started his career playing for the Border Under 19 side in 2005 and 2006, he then moved to Kimberley to join Griquas. He made his debut in the 2008 Vodacom Cup competition, starting the match against former side Border Bulldogs in East London and scoring a try to help Griquas to a 15–5 win. He played in 8 matches, scoring five tries. His first ever Currie Cup season was in 2008 and saw him score a further 6 tries in 11 matches.

As a Griquas player, he could also play Super Rugby for the Cheetahs. He was included in the Cheetahs for the 2009 Super 14 season, scoring 1 try in 5 appearances. He also scored 1 try in his 3 appearances for Griquas in the 2009 Vodacom Cup. He started 12 matches for Griquas in the 2009 Currie Cup Premier Division, as well as 1 substitute appearance and scored 6 tries to once agains feature in the top ten try scorers list.

2010 Was Basson’s most prolific season of all. He scored 5 tries in just 4 starts for the Cheetahs in the 2010 Super 14 season, 6 tries in his 7 matches in the 2010 Vodacom Cup for Griquas, finishing joint third overall try scorer in the competition. and 2 tries in a compulsory friendly match against SWD Eagles prior to the 2010 Currie Cup Premier Division season.

He then broke the record for the most number of tries scored in a single Currie Cup season, scoring no less than 21 for Griquas in the 2010 Currie Cup Premier Division.

Basson signed a 2-year contract with the Blue Bulls Company on 19 September 2010. He later extended his contract, signing on until October 2016.

In 2011, Basson was the joint top try scorer in the 2011 Super Rugby season with 11 tries for the Bulls, along with Sean Maitland and Sarel Pretorius.

In 2008, Basson was chosen to represent the Emerging Springboks team, which went on to win the 2008 IRB Nations Cup in Romania.

During the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, he twice played against the Lions – once for the Royal XV and again for the Emerging Springboks.

Basson was selected for the Springboks tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2010. He made his Test debut on 5 June 2010 against Wales in Cardiff.

On 15 November 2010 he and Chiliboy Ralepelle were suspended and sent home from the Northern Hemisphere tour after testing positive for a banned substance after the game against Ireland on 6 November 2010. Both players tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a “non-specified stimulant” on the prohibited substances list of WADA.

Basson played in 2 Tests during the 2012 mid-year series for the Springboks – their 36-27 win over England and their 14-14 draw with England.

In 2010 Bjorn was awarded the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year award.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Border – SA Under 19 Competition
  • 2006 – Border – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2007 – Griquas – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2008 – Wildeklawer Griquas – Vodacom Cup, Emerging Springboks – IRB Nations Cup, Wildeklawer Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – GWK Griquas – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Emerging Springboks – British & Irish Lions Tour, Royal XV – British & Irish Lions Tour, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Vodacom Cheetahs – Vopdacom Super 14, GWK Griquas – Vodacom Cup, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Castle Tri-Nations, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Series, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Lager Incoming Series, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship

Bjorn knows where the try-line is, he is a try-scoring machine, is great under the high balls both on the chase and defence but has one flaw and that is his defence under attacking play against a direct opponent. He will be the Bulls left wing starter.

 

Name: Akona Zilindlovu “Akona” Ndungane:

Position Right Wing
Height 1.83m
Weight 93kg
Date of Birth 20 February 1981
Place of Birth Mthatha
Provincial Debut 2003 for Mighty Elephants vs SWD
Provincial Caps 92
Provincial Points 235
Super Rugby Debut 2005 for Vodacom Bulls vs Cats
Super Rugby Caps 96
Super Rugby Points 160
Test Debut 15 July 2006 vs Wallabies in Brisbane
Test Caps 11 Test caps plus 2 Tour games
Test Points 5
Akona Ndungane

Akona Ndungane is the twin brother of former Springbok wing Odwa Ndungane from the Sharks and is a product of St. Patricks Primary School, Hudson Park High School and Eastern Cape Technicon.

He started his long career in 1999 for Border at Under 21 level and played for the Mighty Elephants senior sides in 2002 and 2003. In 2004 he played for the Bulldogs in Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup and also represented South Africa A in their Outgoing Tour in 2004.

He played with the Border Bulldogs in the Currie Cup, before he was loaned out to the Blue Bulls for two seasons from 2005. He was then bought outright by the Blue Bulls after the two strong seasons. In 2004 he was included in the Springbok Sevens side to compete at the IRB series in Bordeaux and London. In 2005 he made his Super 12 debut for the Bulls against the Cats.

Akona made the Springboks’ 2006 Tri Nations Series squad, was included in the Springboks’ 2007 Rugby World Cup squad, but was left out of the squad for the 2008 Tri-Nations Series. Among the players who got in ahead of him, was his twin brother Odwa.

It will be a decade of first class rugby for Ndungane, but he is ageing like a good red wine. He has not lost his uncanny ability to compete and contest balls in the air or to finish off half breaks. Ndungane’s chasing from kick-offs has become legendary and the Vodacom Bulls will again get 100% commitment and ability from this true professional.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 1999 – Border – Bankfin Under 21 Competion
  • 2002 – Mighty Elephants – Bankfin Under 21 Competition
  • 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 – Vodacom Super 12, Border Bulldogs – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Border Bulldogs – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours
  • 2007 – Springboks – World Cup warm-up matches, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tour, springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup 2007
  • 2008 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Bulls – MTN test, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Akona is long in the tooth but still solid under the high ball in the chase and on defence, but maybe it’s time for a youngster to lift him out of the starting berth.

 

Name: Petrus Jürgen “Jürgen” Visser:

Position Fullback / Flyhalf
Height 1.91m
Weight 93kg
Date of Birth 13 September 1989
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2010 for Western Province
Provincial Caps 45
Provincial Points 92
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for Vodacom Bulls vs MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 11
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jurgen Visser

Jürgen Visser is a product of Vredendal Primary School and Paarl Gymnasium.

He started his career at Western Province at the 2007 Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and stayed with Western Province through 2008, 2009 and 2010 where he played Under 19, Under 21 and Vodacom Cup rugby. In 2010 he also played for Maties in the Varsity Cup.

He made his move to the Blue Bulls in 2011 and played for Tuks in the Varsity Cup and the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2012 he made his Super Rugby debut for the Bulls, played Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup Premir Division rugby and in 2013 also played for the Bulls in Super Rugby and in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – Western Province – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Western Province – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Maties – Varsity Cup, Western Province – Vodacom Cup
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

With Zane Kirchner having left for overseas, 2014 will be the year where Visser has the opportunity to make the Bulls fullback position his own and one hope he rises to the occasion as fullback is one of the positions I am worried about at the Bulls. He can help out at flyhalf in an emergency.

 

Name: Travis Keenan “Travis” Ismaiel:

Position Wing
Height 1.90m
Weight 94kg
Date of Birth 2 June 1992
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2013 for Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Griquas
Provincial Caps 10
Provincial Points 35
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Travis Ismaiel

Travis Ismaiel is a product of Tygerberg High School and the University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He played for the Blue Bulls Under 19 team in the 2011 Under 19 Currie Cup competition and for the Blue Bulls Under 21 team in 2012 and 2013.

He was included in the SA Under 20 squad for the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship competition and made 1 appearance for them, in their pool stage match against Italy. He was also an unused substitute in the final against New Zealand.

He made his first class senior debut for the Blue Bulls in their opening match of the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition, starting their match against Griquas. He scored his first senior try a week later, when he dotted down in the 78th minute against the Pumas. He made 7 appearances in total in that competition, scoring 6 tries.

His Currie Cup debut came later in 2013, when he was included in the Blue Bulls starting team to face Western Province in the opening match of the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division season.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2012 – Vodacom Blue Bulls squad member – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Travis is a youngster who is probably still a year away from delivering his best rugby and did not overly impress for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division in 2013. He will have to step up if he wants Super Rugby game time.

 

Name: Sampie Mastriet:

Position Right Wing
Height 1.85m
Weight 89kg
Date of Birth 3 August 1990
Place of Birth Maraisdal
Provincial Debut 2011 for Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Boland in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 34
Provincial Points 100
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Vodacom Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Sampie Mastriet

Sampie Mastriet is a product of Bonnievale Primary School, HTS Drostdy and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

After representing the Boland Cavaliers at several youth tournaments, he joined the Blue Bulls in 2010.

He made his senior team debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the 2011 Vodacom Cup against his former team Boland Cavaliers. He made several appearances in this competition over the next 2 seasons and made his Currie Cup debut in the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division against the Free State Cheetahs.

He also played for Tuks in the 2009 and 2010 Varsity Cup competitions.

In 2013, he was included in the squad for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens and made 1 appearance for the Bulls in Super Rugby.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Boland – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2007 – Boland – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Boland – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, Boland – ABSA U21 Promotion / Relegation
  • 2009 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World ChampionshipsVodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls squad member – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls squad member – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, South Africa – IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, South Africa – HSBC Sevens World Series (Gold Coast, Dubai & South Africa)
  • 2014 – South africa – HSBC Sevens World Series (Las Vegas USA)

He is a speedster with potential and plays mostly at right wing, one of the positions where the Bulls are thin at present, so he could make a name for himself in 2014.

 

Name: Clayton Blommetjies:

Position Wing / Fullback
Height 1.85m
Weight 87kg
Date of Birth 30 August 1990
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2010 for Vodacom Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 32
Provincial Points 40
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Clayton Blommetjies

Clayton Blommetjies is a product of Paarlzicht Primary School, New Orleans Senior Secondary School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

After representing Boland Cavaliers at youth level, he joined the Blue Bulls in 2009.

He has made a total of 19 appearances in the Vodacom Cup and made his Currie Cup debut in the opening match of the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division against Griquas.

Blommetjies was the outstanding back in the 2012 Varsity Cup and after good performances in the Under 19 and Under 21 sides of the Blue Bulls, make his presence felt in Currie Cup rugby in 2012. He again starred in the Varsity Cup and will look at 2013’s Currie Cup tournament as one to break into Super Rugby in 2014. He has represented Tuks in the Varsity Cup since 2009.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Boland – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2007 – Boland – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Boland – U18 Academy Week, South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, South Africa – SA Schools Academy
  • 2009 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, South Africa – SA Students, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls squad member – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – HSBC Sevens World Series (Glasgow & London), Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Tuks – Varsiy Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Claton is an exciting player and does some fabulous stuff one moment and some horrendous stuff the next moment, hopefully he can cut out the irratic stuff in 2014.

 

Name: Jesse Andre “Jesse” Kriel:

Position Fullback
Height 1.86m
Weight 95kg
Date of Birth 15 February 1994
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2013 for Vodacom Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup vs 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
Jesse Kriel

Jesse Kriel is a product of Merchiston Primary School, Maritzburg College and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He started his career at Kwazulu Natal in 2012 where he played in the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week before being selected for South Africa at SA Schools level.

In 2013 he joined the Blue Bulls and Tuks and played Varsity Cup, Vodacom Cup and Under 19 and Under 21 rugby for the Blue Bulls. He also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2012 – KZN – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA schools U18
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition

Jesse Kriel is a prodigious talent, with a bright future ahead and a meteoric rise is predicted for this kid.

 

Starters:

The Bulls should start with Bjorn Basson at No 11 (left wing), Akona Ndungane at No 14 (right wing) and Jürgen Visser at No 15 (fullback)… but that’s not exactly what I would do. I would have Bjorn at left wing, JJ Engelbrecht at right wing (and in JJ’s place on outside centre I would play William Small-Smith) and with Jürgen Visser at fullback.

Sampie Mastriet is also a good right wing prospect and I expect a rapid rise of Jesse Kriel at fullback. Clayton Blommetjies is a bit erratic at fullback. Travis Ismaiel is a bit light in the pants at this juncture.


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