Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke handed flanker Roelof Smit a first time starting berth in announcing his team to play the Melbourne Rebels at Loftus Versfeld on Friday. Smit debuted for the Vodacom Bulls from the bench against the DHL Stormers last weekend and now start in the number six jersey in one of seven changes to the starting line-up.
Jurgen Visser is back at fullback, having recovered from an abductor strain that kept him out of the Newlands clash and replace Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard will play on the wing, replacing the injured Akona Ndungane, with Piet van Zyl starting at scrumhalf. With Grant Hattingh injured, Jacques Engelbrecht will move back to No 8, Jono Ross moves to 7 and Smit slots in at 6.
Who Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer earmarks as his flyhalf at the outset of the Championship next month could also have a major bearing on which scrumhalf he chooses to plug the unfortunate Fourie du Preez gap.
Incumbent No 9 and still world-class customer Du Preez, 32, was confirmed on Tuesday as having an ankle injury serious enough for him to ruled out of the entire southern hemisphere tournament.
Given his vast, 70-cap experience and precious ability to read and control a game better than most other South African scrumhalves right now, the loss of Du Preez certainly dents the Boks’ chances of ousting New Zealand from their status as defending champions, even if there have been enough positives in other departments of late to suggest they’ll be seriously competitive nevertheless.
The veteran was just beginning to benefit from a decent run of international matches – important given that he plies his franchise trade in the much more modest arena of Japanese club rugby now – in the June window, looking increasingly more like the character who helped drive the World Cup 2007 success.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to his starting line-up to face the Force in Perth on Saturday, with suspension, rotation and injury forcing his hand.
Three changes are at the back.
Jurgen Visser has recovered from the foot injury that ruled him out of the Waratahs clash shortly before kick-off and slots in at fullback, where he replaces Ulrich Beyers. Francois Hougaard moves back to the base of the scrum following the knee-injury sustained by Piet van Zyl and a fit-again Akona Ndungane returns to his regular spot on the wing.
The Vodacom Bulls were forced into a late change to their backline and bench on Thursday when Akona Ndungane pulled a hamstring during the team’s captains run in Dunedin ahead of their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed on Friday that a group of 17 players had been contracted for the 2014 Springbok season – completing the process earlier than at any time for a number of seasons.
The signing of seven players to new Springbok contracts was completed in the past week to add to the ten players who agreed long-term contracts in 2013. Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, confirmed that there was scope to contract additional players if the coach wished.
The seven newly-contracted players are Marcell Coetzee (loose forward), JJ Engelbrecht (centre / wing), Francois Hougaard (scrumhalf), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf / fullback), Willie le Roux (fullback / wing), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) and Flip van der Merwe (lock).
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 6th 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 SCRUMHALVES in the Vodacom Bulls 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Springbok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard will not play again this year and will undergo surgery next week.
Die Vodacom Bulls se spandokter, Org Strauss, het Maandag bevestig dat die Bulls op verskeie staatmakers kan reken as die span Saterdag in Pretoria teen die Brumbies in die halfeindstryd van die Vodacom Super Rugby-reeks speel.
The Vodacom Bulls will be able to use Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard and Flip van der Merwe for their Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final in two weeks’ time.
Vodacom Bulls players Pierre Spies, Jano Vermaak and Francois Hougaard are all injured and in danger of not playing in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Southern Kings at Loftus Versfeld.
News from the Springbok camp in Hazyview is that Francois Louw has been released early this week, to concentrate on his wedding, which takes place on Sunday. He will rejoin the Springbok camp again on Monday.
Meanwhile Francois Hougaard, who was sent to Pretoria to see a specialist following a knee cartlidge injury flare-up, and told to sit out for 2 weeks till re-evaluation, will be replaced by Louis Screuder, the Stormers scrumhalf.
Dean Greyling will make his first start for the Vodacom Bulls this season, when the Pretoria-based side take on the Waratahs in a Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld 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 5th Article in the set discussing the Vodacom Bulls.
In this Article we look at the contenders for SCRUMHALVES in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
DHL Western Province No 8 Duane Vermeulen will make his Springbok debut against Australia in Perth on Saturday, in South Africa’s third test in The Rugby Championship for 2012.
Johannesburg – An improved performance at the breakdowns contributed to Francois Hougaard looking more comfortable at scrumhalf in the Springboks’ 36-27 victory over England at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.
Bulls scrumhalf Francois Hougaard has signed a new three year contract with the Bulls keeping him in Pretoria for another three years.
The Bulls have announced a nearly full strength team to take on the defending Champions this weekend.
Bulls scrum half, Francois Hougaard, has been suspended from all rugby for one week after receiving a RED CARD in the game against the Cheetahs for a tip-tackle on Robert Ebersohn.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says Springbok utility back Francois Hougaard will mainly play at scrumhalf in this year’s Super Rugby tournament.
Five members of the Springboks’ World Cup squad have been nominated for the SA Rugby Player of the Year Award, with the winner due to be announced at a function at Gold Reef City on November 3.