Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke restored props Morné Mellett and Trevor Nyakane to the starting line-up for their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Both props played off the bench in last weekend’s win against the Force and swop places with Dean Greyling and Marcel van der Merwe in 2 of the 4 changes to the pack. In the other changes to the pack and team, Victor Matfield returns to the No 5 lock position, swopping places with Grant Hattingh, who returns to his regular role as impact player.
Lappies Labuschagne also did not recover from a chest injury sustained against the Force and will sit out. He will be replaced by Arno Botha, who moves up from the bench. Hanro Liebenberg takes over from Botha on the bench.
Marcel van der Merwe and Dean Greyling will earn 1st starts in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby competition as Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made 3 changes to his pack that will face the Western Force at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Van der Merwe and Greyling, who both made late starts to the competition due to injury, will swop places with Trevor Nyakane and Morné Mellett respectively. In anther swop, Grant Hattingh will earn his 1st start of the season whilst Victor Matfield will move to the bench.
The bench also has 2 new faces this week, with Arno Botha returning and Jaco Visagie replacing the injured Callie Visagie as hooker replacement. Should he take to the field, Visagie will make his Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Super Rugby debut.
Botha, who was injured in the season’s opener against the DHL Stormers, is fit again and replaces Hanro Liebenberg.
Ludeke left his backs unchanged.
The Vodacom Bulls are enjoying a BYE during this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby action and this will help the squad to get rid of little niggles, aches and pains. Chomping at the bit will be flanker Arno Botha, who is now fit again, having played off the bench for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup this weekend and playing in a starting position in the Vodacom Cup side on the weekend.
The rest will also result in a break for Callie Visagie (ribs), Lappies Labuschagne (SC joint) and Jacques-Louis Potgieter (hamstring), who will all again train next Monday.
Vodacom Bulls loose forward Arno Botha will return to training next week after recovering well from a pectoral muscle tear, but flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter could be on the side-lines for another week.
According to Vodacom Bulls team doctor Org Strauss, Botha will train next Monday and Potgieter, who picked up a hamstring injury last week, will be assessed then. Potgieter was a late withdrawal from the Bulls team that won against the Cell C Sharks on the weekend and could be out of action for 2 weeks.
No one picked up any injuries in that win, although Francois Hougaard, Deon Stegmann and Lappies Labuschagne only trained on Tuesday, due to light niggles.
Vodacom Bulls prop Marcel van der Merwe has been cleared to return to the playing field and trained with the squad, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
The prop has recovered from a hamstring injury and ligament strain.
News on the injury of midfielder William Small-Smith has been less fortunate though, with the player being ruled out for at least 2 months with a foot injury.
The Vodacom Bulls took quite a beating on the weekend against a DHL Stormers side who boasted far fewer Springboks and seasoned players than the Bulls.
Nick Mallett talks about how bad the Bulls really were.
JJ Engelbrecht, cited for a dangerous tackle received an off-field Yellow Card – a stern warning not to repeat the type of incident.
Frans Ludeke, Vodacom Bulls coach portrayed his usual diplomatic self… or is that his usual dim-witted self as some would have us believe, when questioned on the Bulls lacklustre performance on the weekend.
The Bulls also released a fitness report today, which reads like a war-veterans hospital checklist, with 3 more injuries, ahead of the Hurricanes clash on Friday evening. The injuries, specially amongst frontrowers are worrying, very worrying seeing as the Bulls scrums have been degenerating at a rate of knots in 2015… well actually for a number of seasons now… and the Bulls Brains Trust, if one could call it that, seems to have no answers to shore up the Bulls scrumming woes.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named Adriaan Strauss at hooker when he announced his team to play the DHL Stormers in the opening round of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Strauss, who made his Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls in 2006 (8 matches), is back in the Pretoria side after a long stint with the Toyota Cheetahs (for whom he played 97 times) and was put straight into the starting team by Ludeke.
The coach also included Vodacom Bulls debutants Lappies Labuschagne and Trevor Nyakane, but neither are strangers to the competition. Labuschagne played for Toyota Cheetahs in 27 matches (debut 2012) and Nyakane represented the same franchise 42 times (debut 2012).
The rest of the team consists of tried and tested players, with the most experienced captain in the history of Vodacom Super Rugby, Victor Matfield, leading the team onto the field for the 83rd time.
Regular captain Pierre Spies, who made his last appearance in Super Rugby in Round 1 last year against the Sharks in Durban, will play off the bench as he is eased back into action following his long lay-off.
The Vodacom Bulls will be without Springbok hooker Bandise Maku for the Vodacom Super Rugby season after he tore his pectoral muscle in Saturday’s opening friendly match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Polokwane.
Maku will have surgery on 3 February and will be ruled out of action for between four and six months, Vodacom Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
The Polokwane clash last year saw a season-ending injury to flanker Arno Botha, but the Springbok this time came through the match with only a tight hamstring. He will be able to train on Tuesday, but will not travel to London where the Bulls take on Saracens this weekend.
Akona Ndungane is another who will miss the London trip due to a calf strain. He will be out of action for two weeks. Dean Greyling suffered an ankle sprain and will be out for two weeks at least, Strauss said.
The Bulls overcame a slow start to finish strongly and post a 30-13 triumph over the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby pre-season friendly at Polokwane.
Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl bagged a second half double as the men from Pretoria ran away with the match which was separated by just 3 points midway through the second half.
Duncan Matthews also found the line thanks to a well-timed intercept while Jesse Kriel dictated the game from fullback, looking very much at home in the No 15 jersey.
New recruit, Trevor Nyakane, was a late withdrawal due to a strained neck muscle, but in more positive injury news, Arno Botha completed the match without incident in what was his first appearance since damaging his ACL a year ago.
The Vodacom Bulls have released a statement about the finess of its players.
Bulls Fitness Update
The Vodacom Bulls will have to face the Cell C Sharks in Saturday’s season opener of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition without Arno Botha, Mornè Mellett and Jesse Kriel, it was announced on Monday.
The Vodacom Bulls loose forward Arno Botha has been ruled out of rugby for at least six months after picking up an ACL injury against the DHL Stormers in Saturday’s season opening friendly in Polokwane, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
The injury, which will see Botha miss most of the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season, came in his first match back after injuring the same knee in June last year, which ruled him out of the rest of the 2013 season.
As the Super Rugby season draws nearer, the teams will be trying to get their injury lists as short as possible, to go into Super Rugby with real war machines.
At the Bulls it was last weak feared and speculated that the Bulls would go into the Stormers warm-up with 3 key players not available. That fear is now eased with the news that only one player, Morné Mellet, won’t be ready to play on the weekend.
The Bulls also expressed their confidence in their all-round props after last year’s Super Rugby season saw them struggle in the scrums at times.
The Vodacom Bulls will be without three of their regulars when they take on the DHL Stormers in their only pre-season match in Polokwane on 1 February.
The Bulls will be missing the likes of Springbok Arno Botha, prop Morne Mellett and lock David Bulbring for the game, after the medical team decided to withdraw them from the clash ahead of a long and tough season that lies ahead.
The Bulls have completed their first week of training in 2014 with a virtually injury-free squad to pick from, according to reports.
Players like Pierre Spies, Arno Botha, Francois Hougaard and Deon Stegmann took full part in training on Thursday as the Bulls concluded their first week back.
This is the fourth article in the series of Bulls Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Vodacom Bulls 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
The Blue Bulls Company on Thursday confirmed the departure of scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and flanker Dewald Potgieter.
Potgieter decided not to renew his contract which expires at the end of the current Vodacom Super Rugby competition and instead will join the Yamaha Rugby Club in Japan, whilst Vermaak has asked to be released from his contract to join Toulouse in France.
Springbok loose forward Arno Botha has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2013 season after rupturing ligaments in his knee during the Castle Lager Incoming Series victory over Scotland in Nelspruit on Saturday.
There was no serious injury concern following the Vodacom Bulls win over the Toyota Cheetahs on the weekend, but a number of players picked up light strains, team doctor Org Strauss said on Monday.
The 4th Article in the set discussing the Vodacom Bulls.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
Wow, 5 CURRENT or very RECENT Springbok Loose Forwards in the Bulls Super Rugby group and only 3 can start a game… Plus 2 Junior World Champion Under 20 SA players in the broader squad. Which other Super Rugby side can muster or even sniff such quality?
Regular Vodacom Blue Bulls Currie Cup starters Francois Venter and Arno Botha have been included in the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 squad to play DHL Western Province on Saturday.
The convincing win of the Springboks on Saturday was followed by news on the injury front.
Most notably Francois Steyn, who rolled his left ankle last Monday morning, will have to undergo an operation to clean the ankle up and will be sidelined for 3 months recovering from the surgery.
Loose forward Arno Botha will miss this week’s Absa Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State due to a hamstring injury, but midfielder Johann Sadie will be fit for selection.