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Deon Stegmann

WhistleWith 7 Rounds of this years Super Rugby competition completed and much discussion in the various media regarding disciplinary hearings, we thought it would be interesting to look at the players’ records so far in conceding penalties.

The scrums have become an absolute lottery and so it is no surprise that front rowers will be giving away many penalties while loose forwards can also tend to ‘live life on the edge’. However, what is surprising, according to the stats, is that as many as 6 props names appear in the Top 10 list of serial transgressors thus far this season.

2 Players who have been discussed quite a lot lately, Bismarck du Plessis and Liam Messam also appear on the list, which is disappointing considering they are the captains of their teams. Perhaps it is no surprise then that the match between the Sharks and Chiefs turned out to be such a nasty affair. Interestingly though a 3rd player who has been discussed over and over again, Francois Steyn, is not in this Top 10.

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Burger Odendaal

Burger Odendaal

Hanro Liebenberg

Hanro Liebenberg

Lappies Labuschagne

Lappies Labuschagne

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has some uncomfortable decisions to make as his team head into the next phase of Vodacom Super Rugby.

The use of the squad system has done them well so far with the injuries they have had, but there are still some pressing concerns about the form of certain players, which need to be addressed with a number of young upstarts knocking hard on the door.

At both loose forward and in the midfield, Ludeke will have to make decisions going forward as to who will be the better combination and what will serve his team’s interests better as they edge towards the top of the South African conference.

Saturday’s 31 / 19 win over the Crusaders was a remarkable one not only for the commitment of the players on the field, but for the injuries they suffered before kickoff – losing Lappies Labuschagne and Arno Botha before the game started and Jan Serfontein in the midfield as well.

With a long tour still ahead of them later in the season, the next few weeks will be crucial to secure as many points as possible on South African soil, starting with Saturday’s Jukskei derby against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg.

While the normal Monday assessment still needs to happen, it seems Labuschagne could be back in contention for his starting spot this weekend, and on the form of Saturday, it would be hard to deny Hanro Liebenberg another go at the opposition given the big performance he gave coming into the side at such late notice.

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Deon Stegmann

Deon Stegmann has received a 1 week ban for foul play.

Blue Bulls captain and flank Deon Stegmann was suspended for 1 week on Wednesday for striking a player with his elbow in their Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the EP Kings last Friday.

His Blue Bulls team mate, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, meanwhile, was cleared of further sanction after receiving a Yellow Card in the match for charging into a ruck without using his arms.

Stegmann and Mbonambi both appeared before a SARU judicial committee in Pretoria on Tuesday after being sent to the sin-bin in their clash in Port Elizabeth.

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Deon Stegmann

Deon Stegmann is to appear in front of a judiciary.

Vodacom Blue Bulls captain and flank, Deon Stegmann, and hooker Bongi Mbonambi will face SARU disciplinary hearings on Tuesday after being cited following the team’s Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Stegmann, received a Red Card for striking a player with his elbow at a ruck in the 69th minute, which was in breach of Law 10.4 (a), while Mbonambi received a Yellow Card in the 12th minute for charging into a ruck dangerously, which contravened Law 10.4 (h).

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Deon Stegmann

Blue Bulls captain Deon Stegmann

The Blue Bulls will be in the rare position of underdog when they host Western Province at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria on Saturday.

Only a fortnight ago, Province scored a 41-17 victory over the Light Blues in Cape Town.

Two weeks in rugby was a long time though, and the Bulls had since claimed their first win of the competition when they beat, albeit rather unconvincingly, the Eastern Province Kings 30-25 at home in Pretoria.

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Vodacom Blue BullsInjuries, 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.

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Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg

Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg

Roelof Smit

Roelof Smit

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.

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Deon Stegmann

Deon Stegmann

BullsDeon 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.

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BullsDewald PotgieterDeon StegmannThe 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.

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BullsDewald PotgieterWimpie van der WaltDeon StegmannThe 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.

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BullsGrant HattinghThe 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.

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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.

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Jano VermaakDewald PotgieterThe 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.

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Vodacom BullsVodacom 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.

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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?

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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.

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