Mapoe on wing for Bulls


Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named an experienced outfit to face the Stormers on Friday at Loftus Versfeld in the opening match of the local 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.


Ludeke named two debutants in his starting XV, with Lionel Mapoe and Mornè Mellett set to start at wing and prop respectively, but also named two centurions and a host of players with more than 40 caps.

Mapoe has played 23 matches for the MTN Lions and five for the Toyota Cheetahs before, whilst Mellett toured with the Bulls last year, but did not play in any matches.

Pierre Spies, who captains the side, is one of 11 players who have 40 caps or more at this level.

“We do have an experienced core of players this year and it is something that hopefully will benefit us,” Ludeke said in Tuesday.

“Even Mornè Mellett, who will start in his first match, has toured with us and played well in last year’s Currie Cup. In this competition one will always be looking at the experienced guys in your team and we are lucky to have a lot of those in important positions,” Ludeke said in announcing his team.

Three Springboks, Dean Greyling, Akona Ndungane and Jacques Potgieter were not considered due to injury, whilst Emerging Springbok lock Wilhelm Steenkamp is also out of action of another two weeks due to a shoulder injury.

Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies said they are looking forward to the start of the season, despite the fact that they are facing the Stormers, who won both encounters between the two sides in 2012.

“They are a formidable side, but this competition is all about measuring yourself against the best out there, as a team and on a personal level. It will be a massive game, as it is not only the traditional North/South derby, it is also two teams with good records in Super Rugby wanting to stake the first claim,” Spies said.

“We are at home and would like to give our fans something to look forward to this season. The first step is to start well against the Stormers.”

The team (with Super Rugby caps): Zane Kirchner (71), Lionel Mapoe (28), JJ Engelbrecht (17), Wynand Olivier (103), Bjorn Basson (42), Mornè Steyn (106), Francois Hougaard (45), Pierre Spies (89, c), Dewald Potgieter (54), Deon Stegmann (60), Juandrè Kruger (17), Flip van der Merwe (48),Werner Kruger (75), Chiliboy Ralepelle (52), Mornè Mellett (0). Replacements: Willie Wepener (53),Frik Kirsten (15), Grant Hattingh (9), Arno Botha (10), Jano Vermaak (88), Louis Fouchè (10), Francois Venter (8).


•Lionel Mapoe and Grant Hattingh, who played for the MTN Lions in 2012, will make their Bulls Super Rugby debut, while Mornè Mellett will make his debut in the competition.

•Mornè Steyn is the leading points’ scorer in South Africa in Super Rugby. He will be looking to extend his points’ tally of 1201 (11t, 210c, 218p, 24dg).

•Wynand Olivier (29) is the leading Bulls try scorer in the competition and with 103 caps also the most capped Super Rugby centre in South Africa.

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  1. My comparison:

    15. Jaco Taute vs Zane Kirchner: Going on last year’s Superugby form: Kirchner.

    14. Gio Aplon vs Lionel Mapoe: Lionel looked good in the latter stages of Superugby last year, but Gio seaks it.

    13. Jean de Villiers vs JJ Engelbrecht: Have to give it to Jean.

    12. Damian de Allende vs Wynand Olivier: Wynand with his expeirence and general Superugby form.

    11. Bryan Habana vs Bjorn Basson: Bryan all the way.

    10. Elton Jantjies vs Morne Steyn: On Superugby form it will have to be Morne, although he struggled a bit last year.

    9. Nic Groom vs Francois Hougaard: Francois.

    8. Duane Vermeulen vs Pierre Spies: Difficult one, but I would have to go for Duane as he impressed me loads on the end of year tour with his play. Pierre was dissapointing last year.

    7. Rynhardt Elstadt vs Dewald Potgieter: After Elstadt’s demolition of the Bulls in 2011 I would have to opt for him, as long as he keeps his head cool. Dewald is, however, a very underated player I feel.

    6. Siya Kolisi vs Deon Stegmann: As a fetcher it has to be Stegmann, in allround play it has to be Kolisi. I’ll let my heart pick this one as the STormers have fecting capability in other positions: Kolisi.

    5. Andries Bekker vs Juandre Kruger: I’ll call this one a draw as both had highs and lows last year.

    4. De Kock Steenkamp vs Flip van der Merwe: Oh how I miss Eben! Flip takes it.

    3. Pat Cilliers vs Werner Kruger: Pat all the way for me.

    2. Deon Fourie vs Chiliboy Ralepelle: As hookers Chiliboy takes it. Deon sneaks it in other areas but not enough to take this one.

    1. Steven Kitshoff vs Mornè Mellett: The ginger takes it!

    In the reserves I feel the Stormers edges it just a tad.

  2. Exciting players in both teams. However the Stormers we all know can have a butt naked Liz Hurley in the team and still fail to create any form of entertainment.

    Bulls by 7

  3. Reply to Craven @ 9:20 am:

    I enjoy doing/reading player-for-player ratings… would have to agree you have it spot-on other than Ralepelle… in the above forward balance he really offers nothing (other than arguably a better LO throw)…

    Cannot see the Bulls winning this… they seem to be lacking in a few facets (yet it’s on paper… perhaps that cringe-worthy youtube song has galvanised them)…

    Aussie bookies just giving the edge to the Stormer’s…

  4. Reply to Craven @ 12:08 pm:

    True… I remember that… although there was a lock/loosie change on both side too…

    Bulls just don’t look like having any mongrel in their pack (no matter how hard Flip tries on his lone-some)…

    For years they have lacked a barn-storming hooker and only Bakkies (Danie) carried the flame…

    They need some power in that front-row matched with some serious grunt in the rest of the T5… and hunting as a unit…

    They don’t have that… Pretoria has gone soft…

  5. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 11:35 am: :roll: Mens gaan Ratanga Junction, Gold Reef City of na ‘n Patricia Lewis show toe vir cheap entertainment. Of kyk 7’s as jy niks behalwe pure vermaak in rugby soek nie.
    Ek sê maar net! Maar jy begin my regtig bekommer met die gebabbel oor “entertainment”, “skiiter Aussie rugby” en “kom-ons-verloor-maar-solank-ons-net-klomp-drieë-druk-in-die-proses”!

    Cheers eers, ek moet loop assignments doen. (Fkkt, amper 30 en ek moet huiswerk doen…moet seker mal wees!)


    Only place I see a guy not lock in a submission and get one… maybe they should see this.

    This is what WWE is when you take the entertainment out…

    Fastest growing sport in the world.

    Michiel “the Chiropractor” Opperman (he really is a chiropractor it’s not just a scary nickname) vs Martin “Animal” Van Staden…

  7. Bryce will appreciate this.

    Michiel started BJJ two years ago. Background is in karate.

    Martin is a BJJ brown belt training with Richie Quan.

    Michiel wins with a stand up guillotine

  8. Michiel is my favorite fighter in South Africa.

    Insanely talented and versatile.

    And also very Afrikaans.

    Walsk out to Fokof Polisiekar and you can hear his English too.

  9. For the life of me I do not know why the bulls are written off.

    5 of their pack are double superrugby winners.
    So proven performers in my opinion and cannot be considered aging either.

    throw in a bok9

    With the sa superrugby 10 of all time as well as our superrugby 12 of all time.

    I could go on but I just do not get it. the Bulls were super dicey last year and still made the playoffs. And that with morne playing kak.

    If the Bulls secure set piece and Morne recaptures any sort of form the Stormers will get in trouble.

    1st games are often messy which is a worry but in the warm ups the bulls have looked as if they already have their acts together.

  10. Cannot wait for this game, and have to agree with St Pete. We were very poor last year and morne couldnt hit the poles even if they were as wide as the field. He will be better this year and me thinks the Bulls are gonna pull off a magic win. GO BULLE.

    O ja, is ek laat om in te skryf vir rat race, al n paar games gemis laas week en vanoggend.

  11. Ag nee wat, net elf punte agter die voorloper. Predictions gemaak, stuur solank my prys. Wat is die pryse die jaar vir eerste tot derde? Ek het laasjaar weggeval toe ek vergeet om te predict vir so 2 naweke, maar die jaar gaan ek so ver wen ek vat sommer eerste tot derde plek.

  12. Ok oom Boer, se jou wat. As die Bulle wen, kom jy more op en se die Bulle is awesome, as die Bulle verloor, kom ek more op en se dis die ref se skuld.

  13. Reply to St.Petersburgbok @ 11:14 am:
    Reply to Boertjie @ 7:09 pm:
    St Pietie Bok – good to see you around!

    Think the both of you chaps are jerking the knee a bit, pasop nou net dat julle nie julle eie kakebene raakskop nie! I don’t think anyone ever wrote the Bulls off, I only remember seeing comments like “Stormers to squeak it”, “win narrowly” or “should have the edge.” A trip to Loftus is never easy though, as was proven.

    Congrats on the win, today the Bulls deserved it!