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Vodacom Blue Bulls

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BullsStormersVictor Matfield made his return to the playing field, but it was not enough to prevent the Stormers recording an impressive 26-19 win at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.

The Super Rugby pre-season outing in Polokwane was a double blow for the Bulls, who will also be concerned about another knee injury suffered by star loose forward Arno Botha, the extent of which is knot known at this juncture, although it seemed  a serious injury.

It was a strong second half performance and a late try that secured the win for the Stormers, who outscored the Bulls by four tries to three.

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BullsStormersThe Bulls are expected to provide a stern pre-season test for the relatively young Stormers tight five in Polokwane on Saturday.

The versatile Rynhardt Elstadt is the oldest in the Stormers engine room at just 24, although he and loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff have three years of Super Rugby experience whilst Frans Malherbe and Scarra Ntubeni both toured with the Springboks at the end of last year.

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BullsThis weekend sees the only Vodacom Bulls warm-up fixture in preparation for Super Rugby in 2014. The Bulls play the DHL Stormers in Polokwane.

In an interesting twist, the Bulls will also use the curtain raiser game between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Golden Lions as part of their Super Rugby preparations, with a strong side which closely resmbles their Currie Cup side, to face the 2nd string Golden Lions outfit. This Bulls side will include the likes of Piet van Zyl at scrumhalf, Handré Pollard at flyhalf and a number of Bulls players who will see enough Super Rugby time in 2014.

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Bjorn BassonRecord-breaking wing Bjorn Basson has extended his contract with the Bulls and will be available for the Pretoria franchise until the end of October 2016.

Basson, who holds the national and Currie Cup record for tries in a season and the Bulls’ record for tries in a Super Rugby season, was also part of the Springbok squad in 2013.

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Loftus ParkThe precinct around ‘Fortress’ Loftus will undergo a major facelift over the next two years. Loftus Park, which may best be described as an exclusive shopping and office precinct, valued at R1,2 Billion on completion, is expected to be fully functional and operational by the beginning of 2016, with actual construction starting towards the middle of 2014.

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Vodacom Blue BullsMTN Golden LionsBlue Bulls Under 19 – (21) 35 / 23 (9) – Golden Lions Under 19 (Final Score)

The Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 19 and MTN Golden Lions Under 19 did battle in the Currie Cup Under 19 Final at

Newlands, Cape Town at 12:30 SA Time (10:30 GMT).

 

 

DHL WPVodacom Blue BullsWestern Province Under 21 – (16) 30 / 23 (13) – Blue Bulls Under 21 (Final Score)

DHL Western Province Under 21 and Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 21 did battle in the Currie Cup Under 21 Final at

Newlands, Cape Town at 14:30 SA Time (12:30 GMT).

 

This was the live match discussion Article.

The matches were broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.

ABSA Currie CupThe round-robin stages of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division this weekend reached an exciting conclusion, as DHL Western Province maintained their unbeaten run to retain the No1 spot on the log, while the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and MTN Golden Lions secured their semifinal berths.

DHL Western Province will host the MTN Golden Lions in the first semifinal in Cape Town next Saturday, while The Sharks will meet the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Durban in the other pay-off match.

The Lions and Cheetahs finished the league stages level on 26 log points thanks to the four-try bonus point bagged by the Johannesburg team in their clash against GWK Griquas.

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Free State CheetahsVodacom Blue BullsFS Cheetahs (10) 22 / 7 (7) Blue Bulls (Final Score)

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

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

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

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ABSA Currie CupWhat a final round of Currie Cup rugby this is turning out to be. At one end of the table we have the Sharks and Western Province battling each other for the number one spot and at the other end we have the Free State Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls playing for the final semi final spot.

The Golden Lions are also by no means safe. If they lose to the Griquas and do not score any bonus points and the Blue Bulls manage a win, then the Golden Lions could find themselves in 5th place. This does not seem likely, taking current form into account.

This is the last weekend of the pool stages and it is turning into a quasi-play-off weekend, with the top two teams battling for 1st place and 3 teams competing for the last two semi final spots. What more can we ask for.

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Free State CheetahsJohan GoosenFree State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské, named a strong lineup and a virtual Super Rugby quality side to face the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday in Bloemfontein for their Currie Cup clash.

Not only will they start with Coenie Oosthuizen at loosehead, but Coenie will have 2 Springboks next to him in the front row, with Adriaan Strauss at hooker and re-taking the captaincy and with Trevor Nyakane at tighthead.

But the biggest news is probably that the almost forgotton young brilliant flyhalf, Johan Goosen, might be back on the field from the bench, should he pass a fitness test on Friday. Goosen has been out of action since injuring his knee in training on the Cheetahs’ Australasian tour in Super Rugbyof 2013. He was set to return to action earlier, take part in the match against Griquas which was played this past weekend, but a few weeks ago he had to undergo an operation to remove a troubling appendix, which naturally delayed his return.

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Vodacom Blue BullsVodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar included Springboks JJ Engelbrecht and Jan Serfontein in his backline and promoted loose forward Jacques Engelbrecht to his starting pack for Saturday’s do-or-die Absa Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The Bok midfield duo will play for the Vodacom Blue Bulls for the first time this season and will replace William Small-Smith and Francois Venter respectively. Small-Smith will move to the Under-21’s and Venter to the bench.

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ABSA Currie CupSharksDHL WPWith The Rugby Championship now done and dusted, the Springbok players involved look set to be returning to their Provincial Unions and respective overseas Clubs to continue plying their trade.

This of course leaves Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer a worried man and wishing he was in the fortunate situation which the All Blacks coach finds himself, where the All Black players will rest some more before the November Internationals start (of course there is still the matter of a Bledisloe Cup encounter between the All Blacks and Wallabies to consider on 18 October).

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ABSA Currie CupAs we enter Round 9 of the Currie Cup Premier Division of 2013, the Sharks and WP find themselves topping the Log with 28 points each. The closest rival here is the Golden Lions who are on 21 points. With WP and the Sharks playing each other next weekend in the final match before the semi-finals, this weekend is a must win weekend end for both sides at the top.

The Blue Bulls, who are facing the Sharks, is in a must win situation for them if they would like to keep their semi-final hopes alive, as a win for the Free State Cheetahs this weekend could see an end to their Currie Cup season, if they lose.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Sharks and DHL Western Province this weekend cemented their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semifinal spots and set themselves in good stead for home semifinals, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls reignited their semifinal chances.

In a weekend of away wins, the Sharks fought their way to a 31-25 victory against the MTN Golden Lions in Johannesburg, DHL Western Province pipped the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 29-27 in Bloemfontein and the Vodacom Blue Bulls thumped GWK Griquas 52-10 in Kimberley.

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Vodacom Blue BullsThe recall of a fit-again Handré Pollard, first starts to William Small-Smith and David Bullbring and returns for Sampie Mastriet and Marcel van der Merwe highlights the Vodacom Blue Bulls team announcement ahead of their Absa Currie Cup clash against GWK Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.

In all, Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar made six changes to his starting line-up, with Jurgen Visser also returning at fullback and Clayton Blommetjies dropping to the bench.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Sharks and DHL Western Province this weekend strengthened their chances of home semifinals in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls and GWK Griquas continued their struggle to make their presence felt.

With only three pool rounds remaining the Sharks and Western Province need only two more log points to cement their semifinal places, while the Blue Bulls and Griquas face a daunting task to sneak into the semifinals after each side managed to secure only a bonus point this weekend.

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