By grootblousmile, on 13 February 2014, at 4:22 pm
Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has named his team to play the Bulls in Saturday’s opening Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Bulls at Growthpoint Kings Park.
Getting off to a good start is vital to the team’s tournament aims and there is no discounting the value of winning early to set up a platform for ongoing success. The team he has named includes 11 Springboks in the starting line-up with a further three on the bench as he has been able to name pretty much a full-strength side.
By grootblousmile, on 12 February 2014, at 4:09 pm
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke will look at his next generation Vodacom Bulls players to deliver the goods in the Vodacom Super Rugby season after he named a youthful looking side to face the Cell C Sharks in the season’s opener in Durban on Saturday.
Regular captain Pierre Spies will lead a team on the field with a number of players on debut and a number of others with only a handful of caps, but will also have the luxury of Victor Matfield on the bench.
Matfield will join former Sharks AJ Venter and John Smit in becoming the most capped South African Vodacom Super Rugby players and will play in his 125th match at this level.
By grootblousmile, on 6 February 2014, at 11:20 am
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has identified three areas of concern as they prepare for their Super Rugby opener against the Sharks in Durban on 15 February.
The Bulls lost a pre-season match in Polokwane 26 / 19 to the Stormers last weekend and according to Ludeke they must improve their scrums, tactical kicking and work ethic before the season-proper starts.
The Vodacom Bulls have dismissed worries about the quality of their scrum ahead of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby series.
Eyebrows were raised after Saturday’s pre-season loss to the Stormers, and while the team have pronounced themselves happy with their performance in the 26 / 19 loss, a question mark still hangs over the set piece.
The Vodacom Bulls loose forward Arno Botha has been ruled out of rugby for at least six months after picking up an ACL injury against the DHL Stormers in Saturday’s season opening friendly in Polokwane, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
The injury, which will see Botha miss most of the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season, came in his first match back after injuring the same knee in June last year, which ruled him out of the rest of the 2013 season.
By grootblousmile, on 2 February 2014, at 12:34 pm
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.
Victor Matfield, one of the most decorated players in the history of South African rugby, will make his return to the playing field for the Vodacom Bulls in Vodacom Super, the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Friday.
Matfield is a former Springbok captain with 110 Test caps behind his name – only John Smit, with 111 caps, has played more Tests for South Africa. He also lead the Vodacom Bulls to all three their Vodacom Super Rugby titles, in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
By grootblousmile, on 31 January 2014, at 12:17 pm
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.
Victor Matfield, who became a father for the third time on Wednesday, is expected to confirm his return to the playing field later this week.
Matfield’s name was omitted from the Bulls’ team ahead of their warm-up match against the Stormers at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday, when coach Frans Ludeke unveiled two teams for the trip to Polokwane.
By grootblousmile, on 28 January 2014, at 12:59 pm
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.
As the Super Rugby season draws nearer, the teams will be trying to get their injury lists as short as possible, to go into Super Rugby with real war machines.
At the Bulls it was last weak feared and speculated that the Bulls would go into the Stormers warm-up with 3 key players not available. That fear is now eased with the news that only one player, Morné Mellet, won’t be ready to play on the weekend.
The Bulls also expressed their confidence in their all-round props after last year’s Super Rugby season saw them struggle in the scrums at times.