The Bulls will play warm-up games against the EP Kings and a Premier XV as part of their 2011 Super Rugby preparations, the union announced on Wednesday.
The Bulls will take-on the Kings in a compulsory friendly match in Port Elizabeth on January 29 and will face a Premier XV squad in Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium on February 5.
They open their Super Rugby campaign against the Lions on February 19 in Johannesburg.
The match between the Kings and Bulls’ is part of the Eastern Cape franchise’s preparations ahead of their anticipated participation in the Super Rugby competition in 2012.
The clash against the Premier XV will be the final opportunity for the Bulls to get ready for their opening fixture.
The Premier XV will mainly consist of players from the Mpumalanga based Pumas and a couple of the Bulls’ fringe players who will also get some valuable game time.
Bulls CEO Barend van Graan, said that these warm-up matches will be beneficial for the Bulls brand.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity to play in Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit as it will give our fans outside of Pretoria a chance to see the team play,” said Van Graan.
The Bulls’ squad assembled in Pretoria on Wednesday following a short rest period over the festive season and a very successful training camp in George last month.
Players like Wynand Olivier, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield, Gary Botha and Danie Rossouw — who all carried injuries in recent times — will be assessed today, with most expected to take part in the week’s sessions.
New recruit Bjorn Basson and regular hooker, Chiliboy Ralepelle, will join up with the squad as soon as allowed by the judiciary of SA Rugby. Both players tested positive to the use of an outlawed stimulant while on tour with the Springboks in November and their case is currently being investigated by SA Rugby.
Wilhelm Steenkamp (Cheetahs), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (Sharks), Pedrie Wannenburg (Ulster), Heini Adams (Bordeaux), Jaco Engels (Kings), Bandise Maku (Lions) and John Mametsa (retired) are missing from the class of 2010.