Vodacom 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.
Lappies Labuschagne will be out of action for at least a month and will undergo surgery on his larynx on Thursday to repair damage to his vocal chords.
Labuschagne has been struggling since the Vodacom Bulls’ defeat against the Chiefs on tour, 3 weeks ago, but chose to continue playing to try and help the Bulls make the Super Rugby playoffs.
After that hope disappeared after their loss to the Melbourne Rebels last weekend, the Bulls flanker decided to follow medical advice and go under the knife.
According to team doctor Org Strauss, he will be out for at least a month as he recovers but should be ready to play in the ABSA Currie Cup series at the end of July.
The Bulls were further hit by bad news with the withdrawal of flanker Deon Stegmann with bruised ribs, ruling himself out of contention for the game this weekend against the Toyota Cheetahs and joining a number of stalwarts on the sidelines.
The Bulls will name their side on Thursday, but chances are it will be a relatively young and inexperienced team to face the Cheetahs, with coach Frans Ludeke resting several players.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce the signings of Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter Labuschagne and Jamba Ulengo. All three forwards will join the Vodacom Bulls on November 1st, 2014, while Ulengo has already started training with the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Springbok hooker Strauss, who captained the Toyota Cheetahs in recent seasons, was South Africa’s Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2013 and returns to Loftus Versfeld, where he made his Vodacom Super Rugby career in 2006 after a seven year absence. He has signed a two year deal.
Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss lauded his team’s efforts in their 27-20 victory over the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
“Everyone, including the guys coming off the bench, had a good game,” said Strauss after the match.
“They really put up their hands and played for one another.
“A lot of the guys leave at the end of the season and we wanted to give them a good farewell at our home ground.
“I think we achieved that. Next we face the Lions away and we will be looking for another good performance to round things off.”
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has dropped a selection bomb by axing star loose forward Pieter Labuschagne ahead of the Super Rugby Round 6 encounter with the Blues on Saturday.
Drotské made a number of changes to the team – all surprising selection – as the men from Bloemfontein look to end their losing streak on tour.
In years past, this was a position the Cheetahs could make their team selections with their eyes closed. With legends like Juan Smith in particular, giving yeoman service.
Long term injuries and player movements has temporarily thrown the proverbial spanner in the works, resulting in Naka having to recall Hendro Scholtz out of retirement to have a fit flanker in the 2012 Currie Cup.
However the emergence of a few young stars has restored order. Marnus Schoeman has started delivering on the hype anticipated when he was still a junior with the Blue Bulls. Lappies Labuschagne and Justin Downey have grown in their positions, which leaves Naka Drotske spoilt for choice.
This edition looks at the selection of loose forwards. One area where the Boks, and in particular the Cheetahs have been strong.
This one is lengthy, as a few players have announced themselves during the injury crisis last year. No doubt there will be hot debate, but what is sure is that the Cheetahs have options aplenty, and may just have the most balanced and exciting backrow in SA, and will be one of the best in the tournament!
Let’s hope in the interests of Cheetahs and Bok rugby, that Juan, and Ratel will stay relatively injury free in 2012.
Despite a distinct lack of communications to the media over the last week from the GLRU regarding the talks with the sponsors, recent communications indicate that MTN are still on board as an investor in the Johannesburg based Rugby Union.
The absence of information will always lead to speculation, and whether it is fair or not, you would think that the Lions Rugby Union would have realised this after years of accusations of financial and administrative mismanagement.