Injuries, rotational policy and the availability of players from suspension all played a role in Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke’s decision to make seven changes to his starting team to face the EP Kings at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
This will be the Vodacom Blue Bulls first home match in the Absa Currie Cup following two away defeats against the Golden Lions and Western Province.
Flank Deon Stegmann has been made captain of the Blue Bulls for this year’s Currie Cup competition.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke confirmed the news on Wednesday.
Stegmann, 28, will take over from Jono Ross who captained the team in last year’s Currie Cup when they failed to make the semi-finals.
The Vodacom Bulls are set to hand Super Rugby debuts to two young players this weekend when they head to Cape Town for their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.
Both SA Under 20 lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Tuks flank Roelof Smit are likely to be among the reserves as the Bulls look to patch up the cracks left by injuries after a long and arduos Super Rugby season.
And there will be no rest for the weary. As predicted the Bulls will use all their Springboks for the game which they need to win with a bonus point to continue their mathematical hope of making the playoffs.
Deon Stegmann may make his long-awaited return to action when the Vodacom Bulls head for Windhoek for a friendly match against the Namibian national team this weekend.
While Stegmann was only expected to make a return to Currie Cup action later, his inclusion in a team for the breakaway trip may well mean that he will get some game time. It also means he could be back for the last few games in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby series.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke will know on Wednesday if he could select Jurgen Visser, Flip van der Merwe and Akona Ndungane for this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in Sydney.
The Vodacom Bulls will limp into Queenstown on Monday to nurse their wounds and get themselves up and ready for Saturday’s second tour challenge against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
The Bulls have chosen the holiday resort for a few days before heading to Dunedin on Thursday, and it couldn’t come at a better time as they lost both Dewald Potgieter (torn bicep) and Deon Stegmann (torn groin muscle) on Saturday.
The Vodacom Bulls released two Media Releases today, the first dealing with their weekly fitness update and the second announcing some interesting loose forward signings to counter the two long term injuries of Pierre Spies (6 months) and Arno Botha (5 months to go).
Deon Stegmann is fit again and training with the team this week.
Wimpie van der Walt, who played for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby in 2013 and who now plies his trade in Japan, will join the Bulls for 2 months with options for him to stay on longer and negotiations with Dewald Potgieter who also plies his trade in Japan is in advanced stages.
The Vodacom Bulls will be without regular captain Pierre Spies for a large part of the 2014 rugby season after he was ruled out of rugby due to an arm injury on Monday.
Spies again suffered a bicep muscle injury to his upper arm, the same injury that sidelined him in June last year, resulting in the no 8 missing the remainder of the 2013 season.
The Vodacom Bulls confirmed on Wednesday that regular captain, Pierre Spies, has been withdrawn from the team to play the Toyota Cheetahs in a Vodacom Super Rugby match in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Spies suffered a blow to the elbow in last weekend’s match against the Cell C Sharks and it did not recover as hoped. He will be replaced by Jacques Engelbrecht, who moves up from the bench. Wiaan Liebenberg will replace Engelbrecht on the bench.
Should he take to the field, Liebenberg will make his Super Rugby debut.
Flip van der Merwe takes over the captaincy.
Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh will make his first appearance for his team this season on Friday against the Toyota Cheetahs after being included in the side for the Bloemfontein clash.
Hattingh replaces Paul Willemse in the only change to the side that came up short against the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
Flanker Deon Stegmann remains unavailable for selection due to a groin strain and will again miss the match, with Jono Ross donning the number six jersey.
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.
One of the guys who sit with us in the Press Box at Loftus, calls Deon Stegmann, “STEGMONSTER”, well Koos excuse me for using the same expression.
The Blue Bulls have received another blow with the news that flank Deon Stegmann will miss the 2013 Absa Currie Cup season.
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.
Midfielder Jan Serfontein will make a first start in Vodacom Super Rugby when he takes the field for the Vodacom Bulls in their last overseas tour match against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Die Vodacom Bulls se beseringslysie op sy toer deur Australasië wil maar net nie ophou groei nie.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made seven changes to his starting side to play the Blues in Auckland on Sunday in the first of their four match tour.
The starting team shows changes at wing, centre, scrumhalf, loose forward, prop and hooker from the one that had the bonus point win over the Western Force last weekend, with injuries and the return to fitness the main reasons for that.
Die baljagter-flank Deon Stegmann lei Saterdag die Vodacom Bulls in hul voorseisoense wedstryd teen die MTN Lions in die Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
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?
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have lost Deon Stegmann for the remainder of the Absa Currie Cup season.
The Vodacom Bulls openside flanker and prime fetcher, who had to withdraw from the Bulls lineup the day before the Blues clash 2 weeks ago, due to a hamstring injury, still won’t be risked this weekend against the Reds.
Dr Org Strauss and his medical team have deemed it wiser for Stegmann to rest one more week, to be ready for the Bulls clash at Newlands against the Stormers, rather than cause further damage this week against the Reds.