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Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be without Francois Hougaard and Hanro Liebenberg this weekend. Livewire Hougaard will miss Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas in Kimberley due to personal commitments, as his sister is getting married and he was given permission to miss the clash while Liebenberg is out injured.

Ivan van Zyl will start at scrumhalf in his run-on debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, whilst the return of Springbok Arno Botha at No 8 will offset the loss of Liebenberg, who will be out for at least a month.

Botha has just returned from injury and will be part of a new loose trio that will also feature regular captain, Lappies Labuschagne, and new starter, Jannes Kirsten, who debuted for the team last weekend from the bench. Kirsten replaces the injured Roelof Smit in the last of 3 changes to the starting team from last weekend.

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Hanro Liebenberg

Hanro Liebenberg

Vodacom Blue Bulls No 8, Hanro Liebenberg, will miss at least the next 6 weeks of the ABSA Currie Cup due to surgery, but Arno Botha has been cleared to play in the competition this weekend.

Liebenberg left the field late in the 1st half after a heavy tackle that saw him limp off, and there were no signs of the rupture in the scan that the Blue Bulls medical personnel did after the game on Saturday night.

But on Sunday Liebenberg didn’t feel well and headed back to the medical personnel, who rushed him to hospital where he was admitted in a serious condition and diagnosed with a ruptured small intestine and bruised colon from the tackle.

There was widespread fear on Monday that the injury could be career-ending as Liebenberg underwent emergency surgery in Pretoria, but the operation was a success, with a 2nd operation scheduled for Wednesday.

The SA Under 20 captain is set to miss most of the rest of the Currie Cup season because of the injury, and will face a slow road to recovery after the rupture released gas into his body that deteriorated his condition fast.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Loftus Versfeld is slowly filling up on match days again and it is because spectators are getting “value for money”.

The spectators were conspicuous in their absence at the end of yet another failed Super Rugby season, but this past weekend more than 27 000 people turned up to watch the Vodacom Blue Bulls produce a 5-try demolition of arch-rivals DHL Western Province.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais, speaking after his team’s 47 / 29 win over WP, said one of his biggest concerns since he accepted the Currie Cup job, was the empty stadium.

“The main thing is there were 27 000 people and we said we wanted to play for people,” Marais said, adding: “We want to give them value for money and we did that.”

The Blue Bulls have been through a few lean years – failing to make a real impact in both Super Rugby at the Currie Cup competition.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Vodacom Blue Bulls turned in a fantastic 2nd-half performance to hand defending ABSA Currie Cup champions, the DHL Western Province, their 1st defeat of the season in a pulsating 47 / 29 win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The thrilling win was a perfect gift for veteran prop Werner Kruger, who played in his 100th ABSA Currie Cup match for the Blue Bulls.

It was the 1st time since 2012 that the Blue Bulls ran out winners in the traditional North versus South encounter.

Thanks to their outstanding display the Blue Bulls consolidated their Top spot on the Premier Division standings and they now have 15 points from 3 matches, which all were all clinched with convincing bonus-point victories.

The new generation of Blue Bulls were superbly led by 2014 Junior Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant and veteran scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and they were also the only outfit to register a home win this weekend.

Gelant, also a Springbok Sevens international, displayed his wonderful assortment of attacking skills and was deservedly awarded the ABSA Man of the Match award.

The Xerox Golden Lions held off a determined challenge from the Cell C Sharks on their way to a 31 / 16 (halftime 7 / 6) win at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday. The Sharks led by a single point after 61 minutes but the Golden Lions ensured that they remain unbeaten by turning in a strong final quarter as they ran in 3 tries to hand the Sharks their 2nd loss in 3 games.

On Friday night in Kimberley, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, spearheaded by pivot Fred Zeilinga, notched their 1st win of the campaign when they outplayed the ORC Griquas 31 / 9 (halftime 10 / 9).

Flyhalf JC Roos kicked 5 penalties as the Steval Pumas edged the Eastern Province Kings 15 / 13 after leading 6 / 3 in the other Friday evening clash in Port Elizabeth.

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ABSA Currie Cup2 Of the tournament’s pace-setters are going head-to-head on Saturday. But it is no ordinary match. It is the BIG north-south derby – the Vodacom Blue Bulls hosting DHL Western Province in the feature match of the weekend, when they meet in Pretoria on Saturday.

They are 2 of only 3 remaining unbeaten sides.

However, before we get there we have 2 Friday games – which will feature 3 teams still seeking their 1st win.

The winless Eastern Province Kings host an ambitious Steval Pumas team in Port Elizabeth, while the central unions partners (and rivals) ORC Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs will meet in Kimberley.

Griquas and Cheetahs are also both still winless.

The Cell C Sharks, fresh from their 1st win of the season, host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions in Saturday’s early match before we get to the BIG derby at Loftus Versfeld.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls are currently sitting at Top of the standings – as a result of their greater points difference over their Gauteng neighbours, the Xerox Golden Lions – with both on a full-house 10 Log points.

DHL Western Province are 1 Log point further back (9) in 3rd place.

The Cell C Sharks (5 points), Steval Pumas (4), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (1), EP Kings (1) and ORC Griquas (1) trail behind the pace-setters.

We look at all the Round 3 matches!

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Werner Kruger

Werner Kruger

Vodacom Blue Bulls prop Werner Kruger will on Saturday become the 1st player at the union to play 100 matches for both the Vodacom Bulls (Vodacom Super Rugby) and Vodacom Blue Bulls (ABSA Currie Cup). Kruger played his 100th match for theVodacom Bulls in April 2014 and will become an ABSA Currie Cup centurion for the Vodacom Blue Bulls when the side take on DHL Western Province this weekend.

Kruger made his Vodacom Blue Bulls debut in 2007 as a replacement against the Golden Lions and has since been one of the most consistent performers the Loftus Versfeld faithful have seen.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Kruger in the side which shows 3 changes to the one that beat the ORC Griquas a week ago. William Small-Smith and Deon Stegmann have been ruled out due to injury and will be replaced by Dries Swanepoel and Roelof Smit respectively.

Marais also decided to start with Bandise Maku at hooker, with Jaco Visagie swopping roles with the former Springbok and reverting to the bench.

Dan Kriel will move onto the bench in place of Swanepoel.

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DHL WPVodacom Blue BullsHas the world gone mad? The Vodacom Blue Bulls will be playing an expansive game and DHL Western Province will kick for territory.

That is what is on the cards when South Africa’s biggest derby, the north-south Currie Cup showdown between the Blue Bulls and WP, take place at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Province have made it clear they want to build ‘scoreboard pressure’, building up a healthy lead before looking for tries and bonus points.

One gets the feeling the WP brains trust believe the Blue Bulls can’t chase a game once they are behind.

Both WP coach John Dobson and new captain Nizaam Carr said they will not be lured into a helter-skelter contest and will back their structures to wear the Blue Bulls down.

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Deon Stegmann

Deon Stegmann

Vodacom Blue Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann will miss the next 4 weeks of the ABSA Currie Cup after he fractured his cheekbone against ORC Griquas on Friday. The flanker left the field in the 52nd minute of the match.

William Small-Smith, who left the field after a blow to the head, will have a fitness test on Thursday to determine if he will be available for the clash against DHL Western Province on Saturday.

Francois Hougaard, who injured a thumb ligament, will also be given time till Thursday to prove his fitness, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed.

Lock Jacques du Plessis, who has a back spasm, will be back on the training field on Tuesday.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions, Vodacom Blue Bulls and the DHL Western Province all achieved successive wins in the 2nd Round of the ABSA Currie Cup played over the weekend.

In Durban, the Cell C Sharks opened their account with a win over the Eastern Province Kings, which means the EP Kings, Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the ORC Griquas are still searching for their 1st win after 2 Rounds of Premier Division matches.

At Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg the Xerox Golden Lions survived a bruising battle against the Steval Pumas to win 44 / 27 (halftime 20 / 10) on Friday night. In another Friday evening clash Vodacom Blue Bulls flyhalf Tian Schoeman contributed 21 points to steer his team to a 36 / 12 victory over the ORC Griquas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Griquas led 12 / 6 at halftime.

DHL Western Province beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 9 / 3 in driving rain on Saturday afternoon to hand new coach, John Dobson, his 1st ABSA Currie Cup win at DHL Newlands in Cape Town. In the late Saturday kick-off the Cell C Sharks fought off a determined challenge from the Eastern Province Kings to claim a 33 / 25 (half-time 18 / 10) victory at Growthpoint Kings Park.

The Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions have both collected the maximum 10 Log Points on offer from their 2 outings and the Gauteng rivals are closely followed by defending champions, Western Province, who have 9 Log Points.

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Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

Vodacom Blue Bulls halfback Francois Hougaard is fighting back the only way he knows how – with his game.

The tattooed utility back, whose inspired run at wing during the Vodacom Super Rugby season was the reason he lost his place in the Springbok side, bounced back with a vengeance in Bloemfontein last weekend to grab the man of the match award after an inspired performance at halfback.

It is true Hougaard could have left for Japan earlier like former skipper Pierre Spies, but he decided to stay, with one hope of winning the domestic trophy and another of making amends for his perceived wrongs during the Super Rugby season.

The debate has raged ever since he burst onto the scene, and showed he can be equally dangerous at wing or behind the scrum, but a period of instability, where his basic instincts let him down more often than not, served him badly during the last year and has all but ripped his World Cup dream away from him.

Hougaard is a fighter, that is true, and despite his detractors, knows all too well what he needs to do to catch the national selectors’ eyes again. Simply keep knocking on the door.

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Vodacom Blue BullsVodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais on Wednesday named the same run-on side that played in Bloemfontein last weekend for Friday’s Absa Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

Marais only made one change on the bench, where a fit-again Dayan van der Westhuizen will replace Nqoba Mxoli, who will return to the Under-21 side.

Even though the side will have the benefit of a solid performance against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs behind them, Marais will be keen to see more improvement in their first home match of the competition.

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Vodacom Blue BullsThe Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, received good news on his playing squad preparing to face ORC Griquas in Pretoria on Friday. The team returned from Bloemfontein with no serious injury issues, with only a handful of players nursing slight niggles.

All of Dries Swanepoel (quad), Burger Odendaal (shoulder), Deon Stegmann (hip flexor) and Francois Hougaard (foot) will be back on the training field on Tuesday and will be considered for selection for the match against the Northern Cape team.

A number of players are also approaching their comeback date from injury. Justin Forwood trained on Monday and Neethling Fouche (ankle) will be back next week.

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ABSA Currie CupDefending ABSA Currie Cup champions, DHL Western Province, the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Xerox Golden Lions all scored impressive wins in the opening Round of South Africa’s premier provincial competition over the weekend.

The 1st Round of the famous competition saw a number of outstanding individual performance as the teams got their new campaign underway. 6 Of the 8 teams started with new coaches at the helm, while several of the line-ups included numerous Junior Springboks and also a few Springbok Sevens stalwarts.

Springbok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard gave a masterclass performance for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who scored 6 tries in total in their comprehensive 57 / 19 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

In the other match played on Saturday afternoon, Junior Springbok flank Kwagga Smith was equally impressive for the Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth where he scored a hattrick of tries in their 51 / 14 demolition of the Eastern Province Kings.

Champions Western Province kicked off their campaign in perfect fashion on Friday afternoon with a 6-try victory over the ORC Griquas in Kimberley. Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla scored 2 tries to demonstrate his deadly finishing abilities.

Meanwhile, history repeated itself in the late match on Friday when the Steval Pumas beat the Cell C Sharks 33 / 24 in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The score was almost identical to the 32 / 22 shock win of the Pumas over the Sharks in the opening Round fixture of last year at the same venue.

Pumas live-wire flank Marnus Schoeman scored 2 tries and was denied a 3rd by a desperate Thomas du Toit tackle just as he was about to launch himself over the try line.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls currently sit on Top of the Log, thanks to their bonus point win and better points’ difference and they are followed by the Xerox Golden Lions, DHL Western Province (both also on 5 points) and the Steval Pumas (4 points).

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Free State CheetahsVodacom Blue BullsFS Cheetahs (7) 19 / 57 (27) Blue Bulls (Final Score)

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Vodacom Blue Bulls did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein at 14:15 SA Time (12:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.


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Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

Those thinking Springbok lock Victor Matfield will retire for the 2nd time may well be disappointed – it seems the legendary Springbok lock is set for another swansong at English club Bath.

The 38-year old Rugby World Cup winning lock should actually retire from playing after the Rugby World Cup and is contracted to take up a coaching position with the Vodacom Bulls next season, but it seems this may not be the case as he seeks a final payday before turning to coaching.

There have been rumours that since the axing of Frans Ludeke as Bulls coach – the Super Rugby franchise has not found a replacement – that Matfield may not be keen to go into coaching just yet, especially as Ludeke’s proposal to move to Director of coaching with Matfield and Fourie du Preez taking over the coaching reigns, was rejected with the Bulls bad run of results earlier this year.

According to sources close to the Bulls, Matfield was also told that the Bulls would not stand in his way if he decided he didn’t want to take up the coaching contract after the Rugby World Cup.

With this in mind, the news that Bath may want to sign him on a short term deal – a season in England to cap off a long and illustrious career – may well suit the Springbok captain very well, especially with the Pound very strong against the Rand at the moment.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais opted for a youthful squad for his ABSA Currie Cup coaching debut on Saturday, when the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

He also named former Free State flanker, Lappies Labuschagne, as captain for the season opener. It will be the flanker’s 1st match with the Barberton daisy on the chest, although he has played for the hosts 44 times before he moved to Pretoria.

The squad is packed with players who represented the Junior Springboks in recent years, while some seasoned Springboks add the needed degree of experience.

Making ABSA Currie Cup debuts in the backline for the Vodacom Blue Bulls are Warrick Gelant and Travis Ismaiel, with Hanro Liebenberg, Marvin Orie and Jaco Visagie also running out as Vodacom Blue Bulls Currie Cup players for the 1st time on Saturday. Amongst the replacements, Nqoba Mxoli, RG Snyman, Ivan van Zyl and Dries Swanepoel will all make a 1st Currie Cup appearance, should they be called upon.

Prop Werner Kruger will play in his 98th match in the competition.

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Nick de Jager

Nick de Jager

The Vodacom Blue Bulls have signed Saracens loose forward Nick de Jager on a 1-year contract with immediate effect.

De Jager, the former Maties No 8 who left South Africa to join Saracens 2 years ago, has been signed as loose forward cover for the ABSA Currie Cup season and joined the team on Monday to start with his new side.

De Jager is a big, powerful ball carrier and is highly rated, with Saracens releasing him to continue his development in Pretoria and hopefully get some game time ahead of next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season.

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Canon Eagles vs Blue Bulls

Canon Eagles vs Blue Bulls

The Vodacom Blue Bulls comprehensively outplayed hosts Canon Eagles in Tokyo on Friday, beating them 50 / 3. The visitors dominated all phases of play and scored 8 tries in total.


Comment from Vodacom Blue Bulls camp after the match:

A special word of gratitude to the Players, staff and management of the Canon Eagles, and especially the friendly people of Machida, for their amazing hospitality. Here’s to great friendships and relationships formed.


Match report from the Japan Times:

South Africa’s Blue Bulls gave Japanese rugby a reminder of just where it stands Friday night as the Currie Cup side hammered Canon Eagles 50 / 3 at Machida Athletic Stadium.

Those in the stadium on a hot and humid evening saw the Eagles play bravely but with their forwards giving away 7 kg and 9 cm per man and their backs 13kg and 9 cm, it was always going to be a long night.

And so it proved as the Blue Bulls dominated possession and territory – though the Eagles, to their credit, did make them work hard in the heat.

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Vodacom Blue BullsVodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named flanker Lappies Labuschagne as captain of the Vodacom Blue Bulls team to face Japanese outfit Canon Eagles, in Machida, Tokyo on Friday.

The starting team is packed with players who have played in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament this year, with only former Springbok Sevens speedsters, Warrick Gelant (fullback), Jamba Ulengo (wing) and former Junior Springbok Dries Swanepoel, who have not played at that level before.

Marais included Springboks Deon Stegmann, Werner Kruger, Arno Botha, Francois Hougaard and Dean Greyling, with Bandise Maku playing off the bench.

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Lappies Labuschagne

Lappies Labuschagne

Loose forward Lappies Labuschagne will captain the Blue Bulls in their warm-up game against the Canon Eagles in Japan next week, the union announced on Thursday.

Midfielder Burger Odendaal will fill in as Labuschagne’s deputy in the match scheduled for Friday 31 July.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais earlier this week named a 27-man squad for the trip to Japan.

Springboks Francois Hougaard, Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann, Werner Kruger, Dean Greyling and Bandise Maku are all among the travelling group.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Former Ricoh Black Rams flyhalf Louis Fouché has been named in the Vodacom Blue Bulls touring squad to Japan for their match against the Canon Eagles on Friday 31 July.

Fouché played for the Japanese outfit last year and has been included in the 27-man squad that will travel to Japan on Friday.

Springboks Francois Hougaard, Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann, Werner Kruger, Dean Greyling and Bandise Maku are all amongst the travelling group.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais said the trip will be an important one for the squad.

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Jurgen Visser

Jurgen Visser

Forwards Morné Mellett, RG Snyman and Deon Stegmann will all report for training on Tuesday, but fullback Jurgen Visser will miss the team’s match against Canon in Japan at the end of the month.

Visser injured a hamstring in training and has been ruled out till 3 August, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.

“Jaco Visagie (toe fracture), Morné Mellett (concussion), RG Snyman (calf), Louis Fouché (hamstring) and Deon Stegmann (hip) will all train tomorrow,” Strauss said.

A number of long term injuries are on the mend.

Pierre Schoeman (knee, 15 August), Clyde Davis (medial ligament, 27 July) and Ruan Steenkamp (knee, 15 August) will be back in the next 3 weeks.

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Vodacom Blue BullsEP KingsThe Vodacom Blue Bulls defeated the EP Kings 33 / 10 in their friendly rugby match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

After an early penalty by EP Kings fullback Scott van Breda, the Blue Bulls took the lead when No 8 Arno Botha barged over near the posts.

The visitors then struck twice in the final 4 minutes of the 1st half with tries by wing Travis Ismaiel and flyhalf Tian Schoeman, both converted by Schoeman, to lead 21 / 3 at halftime.

After the break, the Bulls scored further tries by centre Dries Swanepoel and flanker Roelof Smit from a lineout maul before EP crossed in the 69th minute when scrumhalf Enrico Acker scored their only try of the match.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

New Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais is yet to decide who will captain the team in this year’s ABSA Currie Cup.

Marais earlier this week named his squad for the tournament, but he’s still considering who will lead the team.

“He (the captain) needs to impress me. If I name a captain now, then it’s over and out. There are a few candidates I have in mind, but I want to be certain of my decision,” Marais said.

Experienced players like flank Deon Stegmann and lock Flip van der Merwe are possible candidates.

Stegmann led the Bulls in last season’s ABSA Currie Cup, while Flip van der Merwe captained the Vodacom Bulls in a few Super Rugby games in 2014.

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Nollis Marais

Nollis Marais

Positive news for a change from the Vodacom Blue Bulls, as Nollis Marais, the new Head Coach for the Currie Cup season gets into gear.

He promises change and that the Blue Bulls will play in a system which suits their player strenghts and it looks like one of the 1st key things he has achieved is to convince all the key youngsters left at the Union since the recent exodus (before his appointment), have decided to stay and sign on to help ressurrect the proud Union.

The 2nd immediate positive is that former Bulls and Springbok hooker, Gary Botha has been signed as Technical Forwards Consultant with the Blue Bulls.

The 3rd aspect of positive and upbuilding news is that the vibe in the newly released Currie Cup squad is positive and excited… and eager.

The 4th aspect, something I have wanted to hear for a very, very long time… and that is that Nollis Marais will give special attention to skills training. It has been something severely lacking in both the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and the Bulls in Super Rugby and it’s been permitted to rot in the background for far too long during Frans Ludeke’s tenure, and lately shaky reign. It is music to my ears and should be music to the ears of most South Africans, as skills is one critical aspect where we feel South Africa is lacking behind Australia and New Zealand… well specially New Zealand!

Then there is the pleasant news that it appears that Francois Hougaard, who would have left for Japan prior to the advent of the Currie Cup, will now stay at the Blue Bulls, in an attempt to shine in the Currie Cup, and thus maybe elevate his chances of re-entering the Springbok Squad.

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Coaching 101South African rugby is heading towards a coaching crisis and needs to be addressed as soon as possible, various experts have warned this week.

Former Bulls coach Chris Buitendach added his voice to the growing wave of concern over the state and depth of quality coaching in the country.

“It is a huge concern. 20 Years back we had a coaching conference and I said if we are not proactive in the training of coaches we won’t have quality coaches left,” Buitendach said at the launch of an international coaching conference in Pretoria on Friday.

“The biggest problem we have in South Africa is we don’t have a pathway where we identify coaches like we do with players.”

Buitendach said the country had a wealth of players but there were few coaches that could boast with a ‘CV of success’ while there was no formal plan to bring coaches through the ranks.

“At the moment we are in trouble, we have Franco Smith and Johan Ackermann, who else?” he asked.

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Frans Ludeke

Frans Ludeke

Following Frans Ludeke’s decision to step down as Head Coach of the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls respectively, the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed that they have reached a full and final settlement with Ludeke.

Ludeke most recently led the team to a home semi-final of the Super Rugby competition, as well as South African conference winners during 2013, prior to this he also won the Vodacom Super Rugby title twice, the first of those titles in 2009, coupled with being crowned as the Currie Cup Champions.

Barend van Graan, BBC CEO said “Frans and I have known each other a long time and we shared special memories both on and off the field of play, he is a remarkable man and in his 8 year tenure as Head Coach of the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls we have achieved many successes, which I believe our supporters, shareholders and players will cherish forever. Our staff and players have gained a huge amount from him.”

Ludeke said that although he was leaving the Blue Bulls Company sooner than anticipated, he was satisfied that his goals had been achieved and that he is able to end his tenure after sharing the joy the game brings with players, management, supporters and shareholders.

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Vleis EngelbrechtLoose forward Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht says signing with the Bulls was the biggest mistake of his rugby career.

The 30-year-old was a star for the Kings when they played Super Rugby in 2013 before joining the Bulls later that year.

His career nosedived in Pretoria though, where a lack of game time left him frustrated.

Engelbrecht mainly played Vodacom Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls this year and has been loaned to the EP Kings for this year’s Currie Cup.

Engelbrecht’s contract with the Bulls only expires next year, but he is hoping to impress for the Kings in the Currie Cup in order for them to try sign him for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

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Hencus van Wyk

Hencus van Wyk

Blue Bulls prop Hencus van Wyk is reportedly off to Japan later this year.

According, Van Wyk has been signed by the Munakata Sanix Blues, who he will join ahead of the 2015 / 2016 season.

It is unsure whether Van Wyk will be allowed to return to play Super Rugby for the Bulls – as is the case with many South African players plying their trade in Japan.

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Pierre Spies

Pierre Spies

Springbok Pierre Spies has revealed that he was regarded as surplus to requirements at the Bulls, which is why he is heading to France.

The South African revolution sweeping Montpellier continued with confirmation that experienced Bok No 8, Spies, will join the Top 14 club in February.

The 30-year-old Spies, capped 53 times by his country, becomes the 9th player from South Africa to have joined the southern French team, coached by Jake White, who led the rainbow nation to World Cup success in 2007.

Released by the Bulls, Spies will 1st travel to play in Japan before joining Montpellier.

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Vodacom Blue BullsThe Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed the rest of the Vodacom Blue Bulls coaching staff, following the appointment of Nollis Marais as head coach of the Vodacom Blue Bulls for the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup season.

Marais will also take charge of the forwards and he will be assisted by David Manuel as back-line coach.

Manuel, who was backline coach to the UP-Tuks Varsity Cup as well as the Vodacom Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup and Under 21 teams respectively since 2012, was named backline coach to the Varsity Cup Dream Team earlier this year. He was Head Coach of the Blue Bulls / Tuks Rugby Academy since 2007 till 2012.

The 35-year old matriculated at Waterkloof High School and as a player, represented the Blue Bulls and SA Schools, as well as representing the Vodacom Blue Bulls up to Vodacom Cup level. He also played SA Under 19 and Under 21 and represented Griquas and Free State at senior provincial level as well.

Also confirmed are the appointment of coaches to the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 21 and Under 19 teams, with Hendré Marnitz and Hayden Groepes being appointed in those roles respectively.

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Pieter "Slapchips" Rossouw

Pieter “Slapchips” Rossouw

After the weekend’s upheaval at Loftus Versfeld, it is expected that Vodacom Blue Bulls backline coach Pieter Rossouw will be released from his contract earlier than expected.

Rossouw gave notice before the Vodacom Bulls fateful overseas tour a number of weeks ago, but all indications were that he would stay on until the end of the ABSA Currie Cup before returning to Cape Town with his family.

But since head coach Frans Ludeke stepped down from his roles as coach of the Super Rugby and Currie Cup sides on Saturday, the ground at Loftus has shifted significantly.

It is expected that new coach Nollis Marais will make a number of sweeping changes to his management team ahead of the domestic competition and as Rossouw is leaving already, he will not be part of the new management.

Sources close to the side say that David Manuel, who until recently was the backline and skills coach alongside Marais with the Vodacom Cup team, will be appointed as the backline coach of the Currie Cup team.

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Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

Pool Name: Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

Pool Code: bosslire

Rule: You HAVE TO BE REGISTERED (as a Subscriber here on to be eligible for acceptance in the Rugby-Talk pools on SuperBru.

The Pool is now OPEN for new Applications.