Vodacom Blue Bulls
Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has broken his silence, saying he is excited at the prospect of moving to the Bulls at the end of the season.
The Bulls officially announced the move on Monday, but Strauss revealed exclusively to the supersport.com website that his decision was taken to further his career.
Strauss signed a two-year contract to move to the Bulls, following fellow Cheetahs players Trevor Nyakane and Lappies Labuschagné who will also line up for the Pretoria franchise in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
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.
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.
PUMA, the official technical and apparel sponsor of the Blue Bulls, has unveiled a new Currie Cup rugby kit inspired by heritage and tradition – with no pink colourways or camo designs in sight.
The jersey in the Blue Bulls’ customary blue is also embroidered with both the PUMA logo and the Blue Bulls’ Daisy on the shirt. Part of PUMA’s evoPOWER Rugby apparel design, the jersey uses a polyester tight fit material which is lightweight, comfortable and robust.
“The ABSA Currie Cup symbolises the long and proud heritage of South African Rugby, so it was important for us not to break away from the traditional look of our ABSA Currie Cup jersey for that very reason. We firmly believe that the simplicity, yet elegance of the design makes a bold statement,” said Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company.
It appears Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss will make a U-turn and decide not to move from the Cheetahs to the Bulls.
It was reported earlier that Strauss’s move to Pretoria was a done deal, but business interests in Bloemfontein now look likely to keep Strauss at the Cheetahs.
According to reports, the Cheetahs also significantly upped their offer for Strauss and he said that he’ll make a final decision on his future this week.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed that three incumbent Springboks, Jan Serfontein, Handre Pollard and Marcel van der Merwe extended their commitments to the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Serfontein (2017), Van der Merwe (2016) and Pollard (2017) all confirmed or extended their contracts with the BBC.
Van der Merwe made his international debut for the Springboks against Scotland last weekend and according to the Manager: High Performance at the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg, a true reflection of the abilities of the prop.
The Vodacom Bulls could have snapped up the signing of the year locally as Springbok hooker and Toyota Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss looks set to be heading back to Pretoria.
Strauss is yet to sign the contract, and the Bulls could only open negotiations with him today – 1 July – but sources close to the Cheetahs camp have confirmed that Strauss has already said no to a contract extension with his province and now seems set on returning to Pretoria.
The Grey College graduate, who played his junior rugby in Pretoria and made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut there as well, before returning to the Cheetahs is being chased as well by the Stormers, who also have made a big money offer to sign him.
But it seems the Bulls have won the race, with indications that the deal could be finalised this week already and that Strauss will be a possible captain for the Bulls in next year’s Super Rugby series.
Flip van der Merwe’s season ended with a whimper rather than a bang as the big lock was ruled out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.
Van der Merwe, who hurt himself in the closing minutes of the one-point victory over Wales in Nelspruit this past weekend, underwent a scan and was sent for a specialist opinion by the Springbok management on Monday.
And the news was not good.
The specialist ruled that Van der Merwe had to undergo surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament, and will therefore be out for six months.
Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Louis Fouche has become the latest player to leave Loftus Versfeld after signing a one-year deal with the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.
Fouche, who had a tough season with the Bulls, being dropped after the second game of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby, has struggled to get back into the team with the likes of Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Handre Pollard ahead of him in the pecking order.
Since then, Fouche has played just a handful of games in the Vodacom Cup and decided to take up an offer in Japan to further his career there.
News from the Bulls camp, prior to joining Super Rugby action again after the June Test break has not been so good!
Jacques du Plessis, Blindside flank of the Bulls broke his jaw in the warm-up match over the weekend against namibia and is set to miss the rest of the Bulls Super Rugby campaign.
In addition, the Bulls have confirmed that lock Paul Willemse, has signed a 2-year deal with French Club, Grenoble and they have also confirmed that the Bulls kicking consultant, Vlok Cilliers will join the WP as from July 2014.
French Top 14 club Grenoble are reportedly hunting the services of promising Bulls lock Paul Willemse.
According to reports, there are rumours that he could leave the Bulls after the completion of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
The Bulls though insisted that the 21-year-old Willemse would play for them in the Currie Cup later this year.
Western Province and the Stormers are reportedly hunting the services of Bulls kicking consultant Vlok Cilliers.
Cilliers, a former flyhalf who played one Test for the Boks in 1996, started working as the Bulls’ kicking coach in 2004.
DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls have both announced that they will be playing against Saracens, at Allianz Park, London, England.
In the case of WP, they will play Saracens at the end of the Currie Cup season in 2014, whereas the Blue Bulls will play Saracens late January 2015.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd is pleased to confirm that flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter has signed an extension to his contract till 2016.
Potgieter joined the Vodacom Bulls earlier in the season from France following stints with Bayonne and Dax and immediately proved to be a valuable asset to the squad.
He has started in 10 of 12 matches since his arrival and scored 142 points at an average of 11.8 points per match. This included a try, 13 conversions, 34 penalties and three dropped goals.
The Vodacom Bulls may well add Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane to their ranks as their next acquisition when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Nyakane, who became a Springbok last season but was dropped because of disciplinary issues, is known to be on the target list of the Bulls as they look to strengthen their squad ahead of the 2015 season.
With 12 titles out of 16 between them, three of the four teams contesting the Vodacom Cup semi-finals this weekend – all of them from the North Section – know a thing or two about winning this competition.
It’s only the Steval Pumas, runners up in 2013 and the only unbeaten team this season, that hasn’t won the Vodacom Cup.
But the Golden Lions, whose title last year was their fifth, GWK Griquas (four-times champions) and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (three-time champions) have dominated the competition between them since its inception in 1998.
A late venue change handed the Vodacom Blue Bulls home ground advantage for their Vodacom Cup semifinal match against defending champions, the Golden Lions, on Saturday.
The two teams will now meet at Loftus Versfeld due to the hosts finishing above their southern neighbour on the points log.
The match was originally scheduled for Johannesburg on Friday, but a proper look at the regulations of the competition prompted a venue switch.
GWK Griquas scored the biggest playoff victory in the history of the Vodacom Cup as all four teams from the North Section proved too strong for their counterparts from the South and progressed to the semi-finals.
With three of the winning margins over the weekend between one and seven points, GWK Griquas’ 84-15 victory over the SWD Eagles perhaps best illustrated the dominance the North had over the South.
The previous biggest victory in a playoff match also involved the team from the Northern Cape, when they lost 73-7 to the Golden Lions in the 1999 Final.
The Golden Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls, with eight Vodacom Cup titles between them, had to travel for their quarter-finals, while the Steval Pumas and GWK Griquas won their playoffs at home.
This means that for a second successive year the winner of the Vodacom Cup will come from the North Section – last year the Golden Lions proved too strong for the Steval Pumas in the Final in Nelspruit.
The Steval Pumas, Cell C Sharks XV, GWK Griquas and Toyota Free State XV will host the four Vodacom Cup quarter-finals after the pool phase of the competition came to an exciting conclusion this weekend.
It was an exciting end to the competition in 2014, with a total of 75 tries scored in the eight pool matches at an average of just over nine per match, or one try every eight or so minutes.
While the North Section went pretty much as expected and the Steval Pumas managed the become the only team to go through their pool matches unbeaten, the last round in the South Section saw the log getting a proper overhaul following upsets in Durban and George on Friday evening.
The Bulls are reportedly eager to attain the services of Springbok and Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen.
The 21-year-old’s contract with the Cheetahs expires on 31 October this year and it appears the Cheetahs will have their hands full to convince him to stay in Bloemfontein.
Following a strategic meeting by the board of the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd, it was decided that Vodacom Bulls Head Coach Frans Ludeke, following the completion of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition, will continue in a similar position with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Absa Currie Cup.
Victor 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.
The 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.
Lions coaches, Johan Ackermann and Russel Winter, have named the 2 sides which will face the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth and Polokwane respectively, to take on the Southern Kings and Vodacom Blue Bulls.
This 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.
Record-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.
The 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.
Blue 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).
Western 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.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls exit out of the Absa Currie Cup competition has come as a welcome bonus for the under-21 side, who face their own semifinal this weekend.
The 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.