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‘Change was needed at Bulls – Mitchell


New Bulls coach John Mitchell feels bad for the departing Nollis Marais but believes change was needed at the Pretoria franchise.

Mitchell has taken over as the Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup coach as Marais has been granted leave for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Developments at the Bulls have seen Mitchell appointed as Bulls’ executive of rugby and Super Rugby coach. Marais was supposed to serve as Currie Cup coach but with the Blue Bulls having lost their last three Currie Cup games, it has forced the union to make an immediate personnel change

“For too long, the union had a mentality of blame, excuses and denial. We have to change it and set new standards,” Mitchell told Netwerk24.

“Restructuring is never nice. I’ve also been through it. The company and board have to look after the interests of the players. With my appointment there was bound to be some restructuring at some point and they’ve decided on it sooner rather than later.”

Mitchell also told SuperSport.com that Marais had a tough year but believes he can make a vital contribution to the Bulls in future.

“Nollis is very much still employed by us, and he is a bloody good ‘oke’. Unfortunately he has been through a tough year. His heart is in the right place, he loves this place, and it is massive to him. So it is a chance for him to refresh and come back at some point and make a vital contribution again.”

Mitchell to run Blue Bulls with Nollis on leave


The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Sunday evening that Vodacom Blue Bulls Head Coach Nollis Marais has been granted leave for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBCo, explained that this action is merely the next step in the turnaround strategy. This follows the continued unfolding of a turnaround strategy that the BBCo announced earlier this year: “We are working hard to ensure the sustainable and long-term success of the Vodacom Bulls and Blue Bulls, as we continue striving towards achieving success and restoring trust and faith in our brand.”

The BBCo confirmed the following management teams for the remainder of the 2017 season:


  • Head Coach, Attack, Exits: John Mitchell
  • Skills and Kicking: Hayden Groepes
  • Lineouts: Pote Human
  • Scrums: Gary Botha
  • Defense (All teams, junior and senior): Pine Pienaar
  • Strength and Conditioning: Jacus Coetzee (Head Weekly Tactical Periodisation (WTP) and Rehab), Ghafoer Luckan (Senior Strength and Conditioning assistant)


  • Head Coach: David Manuel
  • Backline Coach: Bevin Fortuin
  • Forward Coach: Anton Leonard
  • Strength and Conditioning: Shaun du Toit


  • Head Coach and Backline: Dewey Swartbooi
  • Forward Coach: Denzil Frans
  • Strength and Conditioning: Henri-Charl Terblanche, Yusuf Vahed (Junior Strength and Conditioning assistant)

Junior teams kicking, all teams’ PR and Administration: Divan Strydom

Van Graan also added: “I believe this step furthermore grants us the opportunity to cross pollinate within our structures, ensuring what coaches have learnt whilst being involved at senior rugby levels is transferred throughout the entire system and structure, thus benefiting at all levels. We urge our supporters and fans to rally behind the team by coming out and showing their support.”

No Carlos for Loftus – Mitch


John Mitchell had no sooner arrived at Loftus Versfeld to take up his position as Director of Rugby than he moved to squash a few rumours that have reared their heads over the past few weeks, writes Brenden Nel

One, former All Black flyhalf Carlos Spencer would not be joining the team as has been reported, and was never an option. Neither it seems, is his long-time friend and conditioning coach Wayne Taylor.

Both Kiwis were part of Mitchell’s coaching team at the Lions when he coached in Johannesburg and there has been much speculation that both would be heading to the Bulls to take up positions and reform the combination that started the Lions’ rise to power several years ago.

Mitchell will look rather at consolidating the coaching and conditioning structures within the Bulls union and making the most out of the resources already in the franchise rather than bringing new coaching staff into the Loftus fold.

“That is a massive rumour. Carlos is contracted in Japan and that rumour should be squashed,” Mitchell said rather clearly after being quizzed on Spencer.

“Clearly we’ve had a relationship in the past and he is a bloody good coach, but at this moment in time, we will just stick with what we have. I’m operational but also have a responsibility to mentor and develop coaches as well.”

Despite the fact that the head coach for this season Nollis Marais has complained about the conditioning in the team, and echoed sentiments that Scott Robertson, the Crusaders coach, said earlier on, Mitchell believes he first needs to assess the staff that the Bulls have, but has made it a priority that the strength and conditioning coach needs to be at the top of his game.

“We’ve got five strength and conditioning coaches here, and in my view the head strength and conditioning coach is someone who needs to be relevant and up to date with science, has to have the ability to collect data and also has to have the ability to lead men. And then the competencies that exist within that group in terms of nutrition, recovery, lifting, crawling, all those aspects that are covered by strength and conditioning. They can be covered by the group but ultimately there is one thing I’ve learnt since I was last in coaching is how much you’ve got to understand how to develop high intensity and having strength and conditioning coaches that can help you with the high metrics, collate it and give feedback, helps the athlete chase the standards.”

There has also been some massive speculation that the current assistant coaches will be redeployed and few of them will survive until the 2018 Super Rugby season, but on this the new Director of Rugby was non-commital at this stage, preferring to settle in and assess the situation before taking big decisions like this.

“We’ve had some time thinking on the restructuring and we will spend a bit more time. We’re not there yet, but I’m sure that won’t be far away in terms of being announced. Ideally in Currie Cup we would like to create the alignment immediately towards Super Rugby with the coaching group. A lot of the personnel is here, it is just a matter of identifying the competency and making sure people are relevant and up to date in some areas. And making sure that the competencies are in the right positions.

“I will take a major role in attack but also have an overview in all aspects of play. But ultimately I enjoy coaching attack and have been doing it for America as well. Not often do you see forward coaches getting excited about taking the backline. Its something I enjoy and have obviously been taking the forwards and the backline for the last 18 months.”

One thing is for sure, Mitchell has not arrived at Loftus looking for a retirement cheque. The former All Black coach is keen to shake things up, and knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level.

Getting the Bulls back to the powerhouse they were in the past is priority No 1 for him at the moment.

Thank to SuperSport 

Official: John Mitchell join Bulls (Video)


The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Thursday evening that decorated international rugby coach John Mitchell has been appointed as their new Executive of Rugby.

This appointment is the next step in the unfolding turnaround strategy announced by the company two weeks ago.

Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBCo, explained that the appointment is merely a next step in the turnaround strategy: “We are working hard to ensure sustainable and long term success for the Vodacom Bulls. As part of the process, we have now appointed the best candidate to take over the reins at the Vodacom Bulls. We are also continuing with the rest of the process, to listen to people whose insights will help our turnaround succeed. We are working towards achieving success as a team on every front, to grow our supporter base and to earn trust in our brand”.

“I said from the start that this would be a thorough process. We looked at options both internally and externally, and had various other discussions and forums to ensure we would identify the correct candidates. The signing of a coach with the magnitude and experience of Mitchell is a massive coup for us, as his coaching credentials and achievements speak for themselves. I’m sure John will be able to add immensely in terms of our goals to win trophies and more importantly to help the continued development of our coaches and players.”

The 53 year-old dad of three, who was born in Hawera New Zealand, boasts an impressive record both as a player and as a coach. Mitchell played in six matches for the All Blacks, captaining them on three occasions. As a coach he lead them to several memorable victories with an amazing success rate of over 80%, which included 2002 and 2003 Tri-Nations Championships, third place 2003 IRB World Cup and also the Bledisloe Cup in the same year.
“I enjoy challenges and this surely is a serious challenge, but one that excites me tremendously”, said Mitchell.

“I have coached against the Vodacom Bulls and the Springboks many times before. They have a rich history of success, tradition and a legacy that surely surpasses most within SA Rugby and perhaps even world rugby. I am well aware of the responsibilities that come with this job, but I am also excited about the opportunities and the talented players at the Vodacom Bulls.”

Gert Wessels, president of the union, was also excited about the appointment, “It’s been a tough year at Loftus, and some big decisions had to be made. The Bulls Board and Executives decided to implement a strategy, which will have an immediate effect on the short term with the least disruption on players and coaches and further exacerbate an already dire situation. I have no doubt that John is the man to take the Vodacom Bulls forward and establish strategies that will benefit the Bulls in the long term, and I am rather excited about having a man of his caliber on a our team. He is a humble man, who epitomizes rugby values and what this beautiful game stands for, and I firmly believe that he will be an asset to our structures.”

John Newberry, Chairman of the board, elaborated on Nollis Marais’ role going forward, “Nollis will remain in his role as the Currie Cup Head Coach. The BBCo have invested a lot of time and resources in him over the past six years, and he has come through our ranks and has achieved many successes with the various teams over the years. He is a great coach and a true Blue Bull at heart.

“This appointment will strengthen his hand and ensure that he still adds value and remains a vital part of our system. We value his efforts, his commitment and ability to adapt to the changes, but most importantly his potential to walk the path forward with this brand. He is a integral part of this system and will fulfill a very important role in Mitchell’s management team.”

The Blue Bulls Company would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our sponsors: Vodacom, Afgri, Isuzu, Puma, as well as all the other associates, but most importantly to our supporters for showing their loyalty through this process.

Van Graan and Mitchell on Bulls short list


Johann van Graan and John Mitchell are on the Bulls’ short list to replace Nollis Marais as coach.

The Bulls have lost eight out of 11 Super Rugby matches this season, including a 51-14 defeat to the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

According to Rapport newspaper, Van Graan impressed the Bulls board with a presentation at Loftus last Friday.

Van Graan was a Springbok assistant coach under Heyneke Meyer and is the son of Bulls CEO Barend.

Mitchell, the former All Blacks coach who is currently with the USA Eagles, is another contender for the job. The New Zealander has experience coaching in South Africa with the Lions, and lives in Durban.

Rapport claims that the Bulls asked Meyer to come on board immediately to help Marais until the end of the season. However, the former Bok coach’s duties as managing director of Carinat Sports Marketing meant he was unable to do so.

Thank to

Boom now a Bull


Loose forward Boom Prinsloo has joined the Bulls on a two-year deal until the end of the 2019 season.

The 28-year-old will link up with his new teammates on Monday as his contract with the Bulls comes into effect immediately.

But according Netwerk24.com, Prinsloo will not play any part in the remainder of the Bulls’ Super Rugby campaign because he has already represented the Cheetahs in the competition this year. He played in two matches – against the Bulls and the Jaguares – before he suffered an injury.

One of Sanzaar’s rules dictate that a player may not represent a team if he had already been named in the match 23 of a different side in the same season. It is believed the Bulls are in contact with Sanzaar about the possibility of playing Prinsloo at some stage this year.

Prinsloo has plied his trade in Bloemfontein for the past 10 years, having presented Free State at U18, U19 and U21 levels, the Shimlas in the Varsity Cup and the Cheetahs at Currie and Super Rugby levels.

‘It was a difficult decision, but it was time to for career move,’ said Prinsloo. ‘I’ll always be thankful to the Free State Rugby Union for what they’ve done for and the opportunities they’ve granted me over past 10 years.’

‘I just think it’ll do me good to play in a different environment and the Bulls are a big union that have accomplished a lot in Super Rugby.’

Thanks to

Pollard recover after surgery


Springbok and Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard underwent ankle surgery on Monday.

The Bulls announced last week that Pollard had suffered an injury to his right ankle in training and would be sidelined for between eight and 10 weeks.

Pollard is therefore unlikely to be unavailable for the Springboks’ three-Test series against France in June.

The 23-year-old has had a tough time with injuries of late, having missed the entire 2016 season after rupturing knee ligaments.

He played 20 Tests for the Springboks between 2014 and 2015, with his last international appearance coming against Argentina in the third-place playoff at the Rugby World Cup in England.

Meanwhile, Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw said there were no new injury concerns following the weekend’s 20-14 win over the Cheetahs in Pretoria.

The Bulls have a bye this week, before hosting the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on May 6.


Oom Rugby-Pollard is no playmaker


Oom Rugby is looking this week at Springbok Handre Pollard 

Hi guys, this past weekend was a great few days of rugby, especially because I was privilege to be at Ellis Park with the passionate Lion supporters to watch the wonderful Sharks game. What a lekker experience and performance from both teams! And in Hamilton earlier that day, the Bulls lost but show lot more focus and intent against the Chiefs.

This game was also interesting because the Bulls defence was much better, but then on attack sometimes they just did not always click. One thing they did that work well was that they “changed direction” often after a ruck – so they play one way but then at the next ruck they switch and play back the other way, especially after a set piece. I am sure this was pre-planned for how the Chiefs defenders fold from ruck to ruck. Often the first receiver with this switches was the excellent Burger Odendaal who many times find space on the short side.

But on a few other occasions when the Bulls was playing more traditional off 10, from ruck to ruck, the backs did not seem to be able to make anything happen.

When I had a closer look I notice that sometimes the problem seem to be Handre who often stand too deep, or should I say he distribute too deep. Take a look at the picture below.

Handre is about to pass the ball but he do it so early that the aggressive Chiefs defenders can now just change direction and attack the remaining Bulls runners. It is like a hospital pass for his whole backline.

If Handre was taking the ball flatter, or if he was coming up faster and playing later, then there is more mystery and the inside Chief defenders must stay where they are to see what is going to develop. We take away their time. It is no use to run your moves early and deep, and the opposition can just wait and watch and then attack the final receiver.

Below is a example of nice flatness and running onto the ball by Lood of all people. Take a look.

Lood is taking the ball in motion and he is quite flat and close to the Chiefs defensive line. They must cover him – he is a option to carry, but he can also pass inside and outside. Chiefs can not drift or shift outside – you can see the difference.

But guys now I want to tell you something that I find very, very interesting…

I have a strong feeling that the reason Handre does not usually play flatter or later is because he can not do it.

I watched him very closely, and guys he is not comfortable trying to pick runners when he is playing late and close to the opposition defence. He seem to get flustered and get a tunnel vision and then often his execution suffer. His passes drop short or they go high, as we see in two quick examples below from the Chief game.

Now I know you are thinking that this is a big claim to make. I am in the essence saying that Handre can not fulfil the role of a modern flyhalf. But guys, what if I tell you that I notice this tendency in Handre two years ago and that I collected some video clips of it back then already because I find it so interesting.

Handre will take the ball flat, but when he have to pick a runner he mess up the pass or he will rather just not pass at all and go into contact. Below is three quick examples from old games.

So I will stick my neck out and say that Handre is not a guy who is able to play flat. It is not fear – we know he is hell of a tough guy. I feel it is a mental and perception thing that some guys is able to do and some not.

When he is presented with multiple options, with crowded space, under pressure, he is often unable to make a quick choice and execute his decision effectively. It is as if there is too much going on. And as I say, his “fail safe” often is just rather to take contact and not pass at all.

I know what I am saying and I do not take it lightly. I am saying that he possibly lack an important skill that is needed to be a international flyhalf. A 10 must be able to vary his depth and play deep and flat and bring his strike options into play right at the faces of the opposition.

Maybe coaches can work with him, maybe it is something that will come with time, and of course maybe I am totally wrong!

But when I ask myself why Handre don’t play flatter, and when I look at the evidence I have seen over the years, this game finally cement it for me that it is not something I feel he can do effectively. It is something that sometimes burden the Bulls backs, and I am sure we do not want it to burden the Bok backs.

Take care guys, and we will chat again soon.

Thanks to

Bulletjie Line Dance



The Vodacom Bulls’ charismatic mascot, Bulletjie, has joined forces with local artists Rea le Roux and Thabiso Mac Rapapali, in producing ‘The Bulletjie Line Dance’.

The song, together with the easy to do dance, was developed to simply put a smile on fans faces, especially the younger ones. It launched on Tuesday 24 January on the Ruben Delmage show on GrootFM, and was well received by fans around the country.

Rea le Roux, one of the artists involved, express her delight to be involved: “I’ve always loved doing fun stuff like this, and being a massive Vodacom Blue Bulls Fan just made it so much easier. I have enjoyed every second of the process, from developing dance moves to recording, and even shooting the video. My biggest satisfaction will now come from watching thelittle ones learning the dance moves.”

Thabiso Mac Rapapali, also was quick to express a similar sentiment: “My passion for Vodacom Bulls is obvious, as most Loftus Patrons would have noticed on game days when I take the mic as one of the stadium announcers. I was honored when the Bulls approached me to be involved in this project, and I really hope the fans enjoy it as much as I do.”

Botha leave Bulls for Ulster


Ulster announced the signing of Blue Bull Arno Botha, who will join the side after the 2017 Super Rugby campaign.

Botha will join the Province on a two-year deal and can operate either as a flanker or number eight.

He has made 46 Super Rugby appearances for the Bulls and is currently vice-captain for the franchise, where he has spent his entire professional career.

The 25-year-old captained South Africa U-20s in the 2011 World Championships in Italy and was also named as their Player of the Year.

He made his debut for the Springboks against Italy in June 2013, but suffered a knee injury just four minutes into his second test, against Scotland, later that month.

Commenting on Botha’s arrival, Director of Rugby Les Kiss said: “Arno was tipped to be a future Springboks captain from a young age but his career was somewhat curtailed by injuries after he made his international debut in 2013. Those injuries are behind him now and he has regained his best form over the past 12 months,” Kiss told the Ulster website.

“His leadership and abrasiveness will be key attributes for us over the next couple of seasons. He is very aggressive in attack and his ability to get over the gainline will be especially good for us. Arno is also strong in defence, he’s a nuisance at the breakdown and he’s a good lineout option, so he has a very well-rounded game.

“He is an ambitious young man and he is determined to make an impact with us. He is a serious competitor who is willing to work hard to earn his jersey. I believe he will settle well in our environment and become a huge fan favourite here at Kingspan Stadium.”

Blue Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg thanked Botha for his contribution to the side.

“Arno received a very good offer from Ulster. We have been in constant discussions with Arno about his future since 2016,” Van Rensburg told the Blue Bulls website.

“We want to thank him for his contribution, we are thankful and proud of what he has done. The situation is that we can’t financially make an offer close to what he’s currently earning. Luckily we have great players coming through that we will be investing in,” Janse van Rensburg said.

“He is still a big player for us in the coming months and we are expecting some meaningful contributions from him as we embark on a tough Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.”

Vodacom Blue Bulls welcome new talent to Loftus


The start of a new year is always an exciting time at Loftus Versfeld, as players and staff return from a much-needed rest over the festive period, and the hype of a new season starts to take over. It’s also a time for welcoming young new talent as the Vodacom Blue Bulls orientate another fresh group of U19 players.

On Wednesday 11 January, the #BullsFamilyproudly opened their arms at Loftus in welcoming a group of 55 new recruitsthat will don the light blue jersey in 2017 and take the first steps of their professional rugby careers.

Dewey Swartbooi, who in 2016 filled the role of backline coach for this division, will take the reigns as head coach this season. He also served a coaching-tenure at Boland, and played as a tough-as-nails and hard running center for the Blue Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs and Boland during his career. His experience both as a player and as a coach, coupled with his calm temperament and exciting way of thinking will no doubt be a massive attribute to this team.

The Orientation ceremony was held at Loftus Versfeld, and was also attended by proud parents and family members, together with senior members of the coaching and management team.

Xander Janse van Rensburg, high performance manager of the Blue Blues Company expressed his excitement about this group: “The Vodacom Blue Bulls have always placed a massive emphasis on building players through the junior system, and this year will be no different, as many of these young men are expected to grow in leaps and bounds over the next few months. We are excited about this group and truly believe that we have a well balancedsquad that will do us and themselves proud.”

NOTE: Our thoughts and condolences go out to Ngonidzashe Moyo, one of the contracted players in the under 19 group, and the entire Moyo family on the passing of three of their family members.


The Vodacom Blue Bulls Under19 squad:

Etienne Janeke
Cabous Eloff
Winrich Kennedy
Luke Fortuin


Werner Fourie
Hendrik Prinsloo
Marco Fuhri
Mila Bomela
Thian du Randt
Matthew Wessels


Andre vd Merwe
Mornay Smith
Dewald Maritz
Ngonie Moyo
Thando Kambule


JJ Scheepers
Christoff Mulder
Ruan Nortje


KP de Jager
Martin Raath
Raymond Nell


JC Pretorius
Pieter Diergaardt
Prince Rivaldo Gino Gaoseb


Ryno Pieterse
Ewart Potgieter
Justin Levendal
Mihlali Stamper
Durang Athembe


Kwezi Mafu
Hanru Sirgel



Ginther Smuts
Tiaan Coetzee
Jay-C Cornel Olivier
Richman Gorra
Eduan Smit


Ruan de Swardt
Andre Kok
Sergio Kasper
Theo Boshoff (UTILITY)


Henry Pike
Zandre Kruger
Juan-Carlo Kleynhans
Wian van Niekerk


Stefan Coetzee
Stephan Moolman


Maxwell Osborne
Luke Jansen
Chad Zavier Plato
Lee-Irvin Andries
Happiness Peterson
Damian Bonaparte (UTILITY)


Jerome Bossr (UTILITY)
Litha Nkula
Christiaan Strydom (UTILITY)

Read more at Blue Bulls Website

Blue Bulls report card


The 3-time Super Rugby had a disappointing end to their Currie Cup campaign, but they must be optimistic ahead of Super Rugby 2017, writes Benedict Chanakira


The Loftus side could have had a very different game on their hands, had Piet van Zyl or Burger Odendaal opted to use their inside support runners. The Bulls’ inability to be accurate still proves to be a hindrance and should be a point of focus in pre-season. The Pretoria outfit has been impressive, continues to develop and must take heart from the 2016 season. This is a process for the Blue Bulls and their skills have continued to improve at the different stages.

APPROACH: B – The Bulls have a reputation of a kicking game, coupled with abrasive forwards and line out dominance. This has not changed, though the appointment of Nollis Marais heralded change. The Bulls have slowly integrated some minor attacking tweaks to their play and have reinforced the waning/outdated areas that saw them lack behind.

SQUAD DEPTH: BThe return of star players Handre Pollard, Jan Serfontein, Warrick Gelant, and Jesse Kriel will bolster the side and give them a lot more x-factor, experience and edge. The Bulls have at least two quality players in each position.

It is Pollard’s return which is greatly anticipated with the pivot’s vision and guile set to galvanize the side and a much more exciting backline.

The finalists thrived off applying pressure at the breakdown, through a stellar kicking game with young Tiaan Schoeman in particular finding the grass on several occasions while added to his arsenal some pin point kicks off the tee. Schoeman will provide some pressure on Handre Pollard if he improves on his temperament.

SET-PIECE AND BREAKDOWN: A+They had  a willingness to play a far more balanced game this year as they stuck to their strengths of set piece dominance with their scrum and breakdown efforts improving and thriving under the tutelage of Blue Bulls legend Gary Botha – step up young Roelof Smit who had a stellar season. Smit has been a pillar for the Bulls as he topped the turnover charts with 22. The collective effort of the entire squad must not be underestimated with the Bulls proving most ferocious at the breakdown. This has enabled the Loftus side to score several tries off their turnovers.

Roelof in particular conceding a paltry 3 penalties on his way to tournament high 22 turnovers. In context, pinching the ball every 18, 3 minutes. Adding to his ability to slow down the ball, he has been the standout fetcher in the tournament. Making 62 tackles and missing just 2, the backrow forward has shown immense form. He completes an ever improving Blue Bulls pack that scours the breakdown together, developing offload skills and showing a strong scrum and line out. Their aggressive ruck contests and bone-crunching tackles allowed them to get to the final. Hanro Liebenberg, Shaun Adendorff, Lizo Gqoboka and Pierre Schoeman highlight the strength of the Bulls pack.

ATTACK AND SKILLS: BThe Bulls look to keep the ball alive and their offload game was unmatched in the Currie Cup. It has played a significant part in their try scoring exploits while playing in the right areas. The quality of young Jamba Ulengo has shone the most in this aspect. Ulengo scored seven tries and created six proving destructive out wide as he broke through tackles, achieved gain line success, scored tries and ran exceptional support lines. He used his array of skills ranging from evasive footwork, speed, power and vision. The winger alongside Travis Ismaiel, Ulrich Beyers combined to lead a destructive counter-attacking trio.

Ulengo has been the pioneer for the squad as the players are combined work rate, eye for a gap, dominating physical contests, handling skills and defensive commitment to advance their game.

TRANSFORMATION: AThe Loftus side made massive progress in blooding young talent and bringing it through the system while adhering to the transformation requirements. Aided by their excellent development work which doesn’t just include players of color but all players that need aid in rugby, the Bulls won the Development work award at the SA Rugby awards. Fielding six players of color starting and one on the bench, add a few more quality players of color coming through the ranks the Bulls have been excelling in this department.

The Bulls will face a stern examination next season when they take on the New Zealand sides in the tougher conference. What lies ahead requires a lot more clinical and precise approach. They are far from a complete side, but they are in the right direction. There is an evident mind shift and the Currie Cup was an opportunity for them to learn and prepare for Super Rugby. The Blue Bulls are ticking the right boxes and are on course to be the best once again.

Free State 2016 Currie Cup Champions


The Free State Cheetahs finished their season on a high when they claimed a deserved 36-16 win over the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup Final in Bloemfontein on Saturday, reports Planet Rugby


The result earns the home side their first title since 2007 and also marks their 10th straight win this season.

In a tough and uncompromising encounter, played at a frenetic pace, the Cheetahs dominated from the outset and outscored their visitors by two tries to one.

Their first try was scored late in the second by Clayton Blommetjies but the Cheetahs’ victory was set up by the accurate goalkicking of their fly-half Niel Marais who contributed 21 points via seven penalties.

Both sides deserve credit for making this clash the entertaining spectacle that it was although the Bulls made far too many unforced errors and when it was within range, Marais punished them from the kicking tee.

Marais and Tian Schoeman traded early penalties but the visitors suffered a setback when Jamba Ulengo was sent to the sin-bin for slowing the ball down cynically at a breakdown deep inside the home side’s half in the seventh minute.

Marais slotted the resulting penalty and added another three-pointer from the kicking tee in the 11th minute before Schoeman reduced the deficit with his second penalty shortly afterwards.

Marais then added another penalty in the 25th minute which gave his side a 15-6 lead and the two pivots landed a penalty apiece which meant the hosts were up 18-9 at half-time.

The second-half continued in similar fashion when Marais landed his seventh penalty in the 51st minute but the game came alive 10 minutes later when Blommetjies rounded off in the left-hand corner after Sergeal Petersen laid the groundwork with a superb run in the build-up.

Fred Zeilinga, who had replaced Marais by then, added the extras and when he landed a penalty five minutes later, Free State had the game in the bag.

To their credit, the Bulls didn’t surrender and were rewarded when Piet van Zyl crossed the whitewash in the 73rd minute but the hosts would have the last laugh when Petersen rounded off a scintillating move in the right hand corner three minutes before the end.

The scorers:

For Free State Cheetahs:
Blommetjies, Petersen
Con: Zeilinga
Pens: Marais 7, Zeilinga

For Blue Bulls:
Van Zyl
Con: Stander
Pens: Schoeman 3
Yellow Card: Ulengo

Preview CC Final – Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls


Free State Cheetahs will host the Blue Bulls on Saturday afternoon in the 2016 Currie Cup final which is panning out to be a cracker to end our domestic season.


Although most believe that the Free State will go into Saturdays final as favoutites no one can not underestimate the progress this young Blue Bulls side made this year under Nollis.

Both teams have suffered injuries ahead of the final but there is enough quality that will be on the park to make this a great final. The Blue Bulls have not won a trophy that matters since 2010 when they lifted the Super 14 silverware and for the Free State it has been nine years long since the last won the Currie Cup.

The Free State Cheetahs have been the inform team throughout the Currie Cup and has gone through the whole competition undefeated showing a new style of play combining with hard uncompromising forward play.. Getting the ball into space has been successfully implemented by coach Smith without losing shape with his forward play.

Set pieces throughout the Currie Cup have been good for the men from Bloemfontein with one of the strongest scrums around in the Currie Cup as well. For once this Cheetahs side have again a well balance side that can compete up front and with the exciting backs they had outscored all teams this years.

Playing at home will be a huge advantage for the Free Sate outfit with Smith and his troops that will be hoping for a sellout crowd to spear them on to glory after a disappointing Super Rugby season. One of the worrying factors for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby was their defense, and although Currie Cup rugby is not on the same level as Super Rugby, we have seen a huge improvement  throughout the Currie Cup season.

They have made 1361 tackles according to the Vodacom Rugby App and only missed 167 all season and scoring 53 tries which just shows how far they have come.

With a 90% success rate in the lineouts the backline had a brilliant platform to attack from all season and this is were we will see a tight contest on Saturday as both teams will want to get the ascendancy.

The Blue Bulls have proven to be one of the better defensive teams this season and they will want to be on par in the final to stop this try scoring Free State side. As they showed against a good Golden Lions side last week, they can score tries from anywhere on the field and any team they play does not want to get behind on the scoreboard against this rampant Free State side.

No team has kicked more than the Bulls in this year’s Currie Cup but the difference between the Blue Bulls and other sides was that they were able to turn kicks into attacking opportunities and points. Kicking with purpose have been a strong aspect of so many Blue Bulls teams over the years and this one is following suit.

One should not be blinded by the Blue Bulls kicking game as they have the joint-top-try-scorer Jamba Ulengo in their side. We saw some of the best tries being scored by this Blue Bulls side this year and off the two teams the Blue Bulls may just have the edge as the more balance side between the two which normally serves one well in finals.

With both teams having great kickers to tally up the  points one can expect them to try and make as little mistakes as possible. This final may well be decided by the boot which will add some extra pressure on them.

There are so many match ups between these two teams which just added to the expectation of yet another mouth-watering Currie Cup final on Saturday.

Previous Currie Cup Final Results

2006 Blue Bulls & Free State Cheetahs N/A 28–28
2007 Free State Cheetahs Golden Lions 20–18
2008 Sharks Blue Bulls 14–9
2009 Blue Bulls Free State Cheetahs 36–24
2010 Sharks Western Province 30–10
2011 Golden Lions Sharks 42–16
2012 Western Province Sharks 25–18
2013 Sharks Western Province 33–19
2014 Western Province Golden Lions 19–16
2015 Golden Lions Western Province 32–24


Prediction: I had a feeling that the whole week that the Blue Bulls will come and surprise the Cheetahs at home but on the realistic side one have to admire the way the Free State have played this year dominating games throughout. They also play at home and at the end I give it to the Cheetahs by less than seven points.

 Teams for the Final:

Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (c), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Tier Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Armandt Koster, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Rayno Benjamin, 23 Conraad van Vuuren.

Blue Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Bjorn Basson.

Jenkins start at lock for Blue Bulls in final


Jenkins home-testimonial-bluebullsonly change in team to face Free State in Currie Cup final


Jason Jenkins will start at lock for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Saturday’s Currie Cup final against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Jenkins replaces the injured RG Snyman in the only change to the starting team that edged DHL Western Province in thesemifinal last week.

His place on the bench will be taken by Nic de Jager.

Ulrich Beyers also recovered in time from his shoulder knock and has been declared fit to start at fullback.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais confirmed the team’s determination to bring the Currie Cup back to Pretoria for the first time since 2009, but admitted that it will take a massive effort against the high-flying hosts.

“Let me make it clear, we back ourselves to win. The reality of the matter though is that we are facing a team that is undefeated and playing great rugby. And they play in front of a packed stadium with supporters. So it is not going to be easy, but we have to do it the hard way, which is great.”

Marais points to the fact that they were outplayed when they travelled to Bloemfontein earlier in the season, but since then the Blue Bulls gained significant momentum.

“No doubt, we have improved a lot since that day and that is a good thing. We have nice form, but as you know, finals rugby is all about what you deliver on the day.”

Vodacom Blue Bulls captain Arno Botha feels the same.

“It is going to be a very simple equation. The team who plays best during that 80 minutes will win the match and the Currie Cup. We both start at 0-0, so it is up to us to deliver. Yes, it will be tough playing in front of the Cheetahs fans, but they deserved the right tohost the final.”

The loose forward expects a tight match. “South African derbies tend to be tough and uncompromising and seeing that we are playing for the ultimate prize in domestic rugby, this one will be evenmore so. We are determined though to reward our hard work during the season and to reward our fans with a performance we all can be proud of.”

The team is: Ulrich Beyers, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman, Rudy Paige, Arno Botha (c), Jannes Kirsten, Roelof Smit, Marvin Orie, Jason Jenkins, Jacobie Adriaanse, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Martin Dreyer, Pierre Schoeman, Nic de Jager, Hanro Liebenberg, Piet van Zyl, Joshua Stander, Bjorn Basson

Snyman out of final


The Blue Bulls will be without influential lock RG Snyman when they tackle the Free State Cheetahs in Saturday’s Currie Cup final in Bloemfontein.

The 21-year-old sustained concussion and a skull fracture in Saturday’s 36-30 semi-final win over Western Province in Pretoria.

According to Netwerk24, Snyman will consult a specialist on Monday and is likely to be operated on.

Marvin Orie and Jason Jenkins are expected to start in the second row in the final, while Jannes Kirsten can also play lock of need be.

Saturday’s Currie Cup final is scheduled for 16:00.

Last minute try secure Blue Bulls a spot in the Currie Cup Final


Blue Bulls scored a crucial last minute try to secure the win of 36-30 over Western Province to secure a place in the final against Free State next week.


The game started with great speed from the Blue Bulls and they had most of the ball in the early exchanges. Western Province was made to tackle and make sure that the Blue Bulls do not get through their defensive lines which was a problem this year in the Currie Cup.

Western Province did put the effort on attack with the Blue Bulls hitting them hard in the tackles and stopping most of their chances on attack.

It was the Blue Bulls who scored first with some great hands against the touch line and took an early lead of 7-0 over Province.

Western Province did had a few phases that gave their forwards a chance to drive over the line for their first try and make the score 7 all. This would be the trend throughout the match as the two teams battle for the win.

Both teams gave the ball some air and  it was Western Province that had to defend a bit more and gave away some penalties which the Blue Bulls took full advantage off and kept the scoreboard ticking over with the boot of Schoeman.

The lineouts and scrums were even throughout the first half although the Blue Bulls got some penalties from the scrums but never really dominate it.

At the end of the half Province got a penalty to make the score 16-10 at the break.

With all to play, both teams would have wanted to improve in the second half as they made a few mistakes in attack.

The second half was a much better half from Province and they kept pressing the Blue Bulls till the end. Some handling errors and wrong decisions put the Blue Bulls under huge pressure for long periods in that second half.

Province were starting to get the better in the lineouts and scrums with the Blue Bulls able to counter them.

It was a great kicking display from both Tiaan Schoeman and Robert Du Preez who did not miss anything on the night.

Province score a great try from an intercept to send Werner Kok away which also gave them the lead and hope of a repeat from last years semi final when they beat them at Loftus.

The Blue Bulls came back each time when Province took the lead and at the end a great try secure the win and gave them a spot in the final next week against the Free State Cheetahs.

At the end The Blue Bulls just had that little bit more than Province and deserve the victory and the spot in the final.

Next week it is Free State Cheetahs against the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein.

The scorers:
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Ismaiel, Jenkins, Van Zyl
Cons: Schoeman 3
Pens: Schoeman 5

For Western Province:
Tries: Carr, Kok, De Klerk
Cons: Du Preez 3
Pens: Du Preez 2
Drop goal: Du Preez

SF2 Preview – Blue Bulls v Western Province


The second semi final this weekend will see a repeat of last years semi final also at Loftus when the Blue Bulls take on old rivals Western Province on Saturday afternoon.


Last year the Blue Bulls also came into the semi final as favorites with Western Province upsetting the apple cart in beating them to advance to the final against the Golden Lions. With the Blue Bulls having played some great rugby at times we can expect then to come out firing against an different Western Province side this year.

Western Province had to fight the last few weeks in almost every pool game to stay in the race and eventually got through to face the Bulls on Saturday.  It was clearly not a season the men from Cape Town can be proud off but they will feel that each team will have a 50/50 change in this knockout rugby semi final.

Defense has been one of Western Province biggest concerns letting teams score willingly throughout the competition against them. Although Western Province have scored some great tries this year they did let through 250 points this season.

The two teams met in the first round this year with the Blue Bulls outplaying Province in the first half but to Province credit they did come back late in the second half to score a bonus point for four tries.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais have continued to combined the Blue Bulls blue print of strong forwards with now an exciting brand the backs are able to play. With allot of youngsters in the team the Blue Bulls have quietly build in a well balance side with a really strong forward pack.

The forwards have really impressed me this year and they kept on getting better and dominated most teams in scrums and line outs.

Arno Botha have been back this year after a bunch of injuries that kept him of the park to not just lead this Blue Bulls side in the Currie Cup but also lead by example. The other two outstanding players this year for me was RG Snyman and Marvin Orie at lock, the two has seen the most improvement for me in the Currie Cup and Snyman looks like his dreams of wearing that green and gold is not far away.

The team was also boosted by the return of Springbok Rudy Paige who will start the semi final for the Blue Bulls at 9.

With Western Province side struggling to have any kind of consistency this year most of their star players also had and indifferent games but for a good look at the match-ups between these two side go and read Benedicts view on it here 

Coach Dobson made six changes to his side who played in the last match against Boland and would want a repeat of last years upset against the Blue Bulls to advance to the final.

The biggest plus for Dobson this week was to get the service of Springbok Bongi Mbonambi back in his front row as well as Juan de Jongh in the midfield.

Prediction: Truly believe the Blue Bulls is just more of a complete outfit to loose this one, Blue Bulls by 10 points

Blue Bulls Team: Ulrich Beyers (18), Travis Ismaiel (18), Dries Swanepoel (17), Burger Odendaal (29), Jamba Ulengo (20), Tian Schoeman (22), Rudy Paige (12), Arno Botha (k, 29), Jannes Kirsten (9), Roelof Smit (10), RG Snyman (17), Marvin Orie (19), Jacobie Adriaanse (65), Jaco Visagie (16), Lizo Gqoboka (62).

Replacements: Bandise Maku (81), Martin Dreyer (37), Pierre Schoeman (12), Jason Jenkins (6), Hanro Liebenberg (11), Ivan van Zyl (10), Joshua Stander (7), Bjorn Basson (68)/Nic de Jager (6).

DHL Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze, 23 Scott van Breda.

Paige start for Blue Bulls in semi final



Scrumhalf Rudy Paige will make a first start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup on Saturday when the home side will take on the DHL Western Province team in the semifinal of the competition at Loftus Versfeld.

Paige made an appearance for the Blue Bulls off the bench against Boland in their final encounter last month, but the Springbok scrumhalf earned a spot in the run-on side for the big clash against their traditional rivals from the South.

He will replace Piet van Zyl, who is out injured. In the other change to the backline, a fit-again Travis Ismaiel returns in place of Bjorn Basson.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach, Nollis Marais made a number of changes to his pack. Arno Botha will start at no8 and take over the captaincy from Hanro Liebenberg, who will move to the bench. Jannes Kirsten is also promoted to the starting team at flank after he came off the bench in Wellington.

Jaco Visagie and Bandise Maku is also rotated again, with Visagie starting and Maku on the bench.

With a second prop on the bench allowed for the semifinals, Pierre Schoeman will start on the bench and take over from Lizo Gqoboka during the match.

Ivan van Zyl, who played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21’s this season, could earn an 11th cap for the senior side at scrumhalf after being named on the bench as back-up scrumhalf.

A final call between Bjorn Basson and Nic de Jager on the bench will be made later.

Marais was pleased to have Paige back. “We all feel for Piet, who has been playing great rugby only to miss out through injury, but luckily for us, Rudy is fit and ready to go. He started for the Springboks at Loftus two weeks ago and I am sure he is keen to make a similar contribution to the Blue Bulls.”

The coach admitted that it was not easy to pick the team.

“A number of guys on the bench could just as well be starting, but everyone was picked for a particular reason. We always said it is going to take a squad to win trophies and ours is looking good at the moment.”

Arno Botha, who will play in his third semifinal in the competition, said they have many reasons to deliver a good performance.

“We want to play in the final. We realise WP is a dangerous opponent, with a number of match-winners, but we really need to do this for ourselves and off course, for our fans. We expect a good crowd and we are motivated not to let them down. We have developed nicely as a group this year and comes into the match with good momentum. That said, all 23 of us will have to play our best match ever if we want to beat WP. We are determined to deliver a good result.”

The team (with Currie Cup caps) is: Ulrich Beyers (18), Travis Ismaiel (18), Dries Swanepoel (17), Burger Odendaal (29), Jamba Ulengo (20), Tian Schoeman (22), Rudy Paige (12), Arno Botha (k, 29), Jannes Kirsten (9), Roelof Smit (10), RG Snyman (17), Marvin Orie (19), Jacobie Adriaanse (65), Jaco Visagie (16), Lizo Gqoboka (62).

Replacements: Bandise Maku (81), Martin Dreyer (37), Pierre Schoeman (12), Jason Jenkins (6), Hanro Liebenberg (11), Ivan van Zyl (10), Joshua Stander (7), Bjorn Basson (68)/Nic de Jager (6).

Vodacom Bulls fitness report


The Vodacom Blue Bulls have released the following fitness reports before their semi final against Western Province. Flanker Steenkamp will miss the game due to a groin injury and Rudy Paige and Piet van Zyl are both struggling with concussion.

Kotze signs with Blue Bulls


The Blue Bulls on Thursday confirmed the signing of midfielder Johnny Kotze until the end of October 2018.


The elusive try-scoring centre is currently playing for Western Province and represented Stormers in the Super Rugby competition in the last couple of seasons.

The Bulls also confirmed contract extensions to a number of players. Current Bulls locks RG Snyman and Jannes Kirsten signed on until 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Highly rated tighthead prop Martin Dreyer also agreed to stay in Pretoria until the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season. Dreyer, who played for the Stormers in 2016, made his provincial debut for the Blue Bulls in 2016 and impressed all.

The Blue Bulls Company’s High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg, also confirmed the signing of a number of junior players into senior contracts.

Divan Rossouw, who debuted for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup this year and Junior Springboks Franco Naude and Jan-Henning Campher will all be available till the end of the 2018 season.

Naude formed a formidable partnership with fellow Junior Bok and Blue Bulls player JT Jackson this year and Janse van Rensburg is excited about their futures.

“We are really lucky to get an exciting and experienced player like Johnny Kotze into the squad, as it will no doubt extend our depth in the midfield,” said Janse van Rensburg.

“He brings some versatility and unpredictability to the party. That said, we predict a bright future for Franco and JT, who have already showed that they have an appetite for hard work and winning titles.

“They work well together as a combination as well and they will learn a lot from the senior guys like Jan Serfontein, Burger Odendaal and Dries Swanepoel. In fact, they will keep everyone on their toes.

“It is also great to have RG and Jannes staying on. They are clearly destined for greater things and it is great to know that they will keep on showing their immense talents in our squad.”

Blue Bulls secure semi final spot with win in Wellington


The Blue Bulls have secured their semi final spot in this years Currie Cup after having t work hard for 50 min to beat Boland comfortably at the end with 48-26 on Friday.

With the scores level at the break 12 all it was still everything to play for and it was the Blue Bulls that just had too much left in the tank for the men from Wellington. Both teams got try bonus points out of the game and for most of the game played an exciting game if Rugga’s.

The Blue Bulls scrum was the one aspect that the Boland players could not match-up to and gave them the domination they need to get away from the gutsy Boland team at the end. Although some interpretations of the Japanese referee left most confused when it came to scrum, the Blue Bulls did have too much for Boland throughout the match.

Handling errors will be a major concern for the Blue Bulls as they go to the semi’s and something which they need to sort out when facing the top teams in the play-offs, but they showed enough throughout the season to be a major force in the play-offs at home or away.

The victory was crucial for the Blue Bulls as it sees them jump straight up the table into first place, replacing the unbeaten Cheetahs for the lead.This could be sort lived as the Free State team should win their game against the struggling Pumas later on Friday.

Boland put up an incredible performance on display and where worth the four tries they scored in the match. That they are no push-overs have been displayed throughout the season and the union can be proud of what they have achieved so far in the Currie Cup.

Next week the Blue Bulls have a bye and will have to wait and see what other teams will do to see where they will pay their semi final and for Boland it is a trip to their neighbors Western Province in their final game.

The scorers:

For Boland:
Tries: Kotze 2, Demas, Jordaan
Cons: Kotze 3
Yellow card: Hanekom

Blue Bulls:
Tries: Beyers, Basson, Schoeman, Smit, Liebenberg 2
Cons: Schoeman 3
Pens: Schoeman 2

Preview – Boland v Blue Bulls


There are still a few teams that can make this weekend a make or break weekend in getting into the semi finals but from what we have seen so far this year the Blue Bulls should get full points in Wellington on Friday.


They will be traveling to Boland to play their last match of the season and make sure that they they are their for the semi’s and maybe even a home semi as well.

Boland had a so-so season winning a couple but did not really challenged the bigger unions. With the lost against Griquas in their previous match they would want to put up a good performance.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais urged his side to hit the ground running in Wellington.

“We have managed to pick up some momentum when we needed to, but this match could define our season,” he said. “A solid performance could secure a place in the play-offs. After that, it will all be in our hands.”

Hanro Liebenberg will again lead the team from the base of the scrum.

“We worked hard to get ourselves into a position where we can win the Currie Cup,” added Marais. “We are not there yet, so the work is far from finished. We owe it to ourselves to deliver a commanding performance.”

Boland have a couple of changes to the their side. In the pack Basil short replaces Enoch Mnyaka in the number three jersey.

Jacques Engelbrecht moves from the back of the scrum to the side as he dons the seven jersey while Zandre Jordaan will play at number eight with Keenan Cronje starting at open-side flank.

In the back-line Theuns Kotze starts at fly-half with Adriaan Carelse going back to full-back with Gerrit van Wyk starting at outside-centre.

Marais named tight-head prop Jacobie Adriaanse in his starting XV after the prop missed last weekend’s win over Griquas due to injury. Adriaanse replaces Martin Dreyer, who drops to the bench, with Jon-Roy Jenkinson missing the trip to Cape Town.

Marais also changed the rest of his front row. Hookers Bandise Maku and Jaco Visagie swap places again and loose-head prop Lizo Gqoboka comes in for Pierre Schoeman as part of their rotational policy.

In an enforced change at the back, Bjorn Basson replaces Travis Ismaiel, who is nursing a groin injury. Divan Rossouw comes in for Basson on the bench.

Prediction: Easy game for Blue Bulls by 30

The teams:

Boland Cavaliers: 15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Logan Basson, 13 Gerrit van Wyk, 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Zandré Jordaan, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Keenan Cronje, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Basil Short, 2 Clemen Lewis(c), 1 SP Wessels
Replacements: 16 Francois Esterhuyzen, 17 Enoch Mnyaka, 18 Francois Hanekom, 19 Wayne Wilschut, 20 Hanno Kitshoff, 21 Gerhard Jordaan, 22 Robbie Louw

Blue Bulls: Ulrich Beyers, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Jason Jenkins, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Divan Rossouw

Blue Bulls send out a strong message with win over Griquas


Blue Bulls made a massive statement in beating Griquas on Friday night 57-20 at Loftus.


It was a good start for the Blue Bulls putting Griquas under pressure from the start with great pressure from the kick-off.

With the Blue Bulls on attack Griquas turned the ball over in their own twenty two and scored at the other end to get the first points on the board leading the Blue Bulls 7-0 after 7 min.

The Blue Bulls started to give away some penalties and got punished for it after a long range penalty to take the lead to 10-0 after 10 min.

Working hard on attack the Blue Bulls muscle their way over the try line to score their first try and put something on the scoreboard.

That try from the Blue Bulls made it 10-7 for Griquas after 17 min.

Discipline started to let Griquas down as they gave a few penalties away to give the Blue Bulls some great field position to attack from.

That led to a beautiful try by Ulengo from the set piece to give the Blue Bulls the lead with 14-10.

The Blue Bulls kicking game was perfect at this stage and put Griquas under great pressure with the forward hitting the rucks hard as well.

It took not long for the Blue Bulls to score their third try with the power of their forwards and started to pull away from the men from Kimberley.

Griquas lineouts where not great and lost a few of them in the first half taking away a much needed attacking option.

Griquas did force a penalty which Swart kicked over to make the score 21-13 after 32 min but the Blue Bulls had full control in the game at this stage.

With the Blue Bulls keeping the pressure on Griquas Zito got a yellow card close to the line for a dangerous tackle which the Blue Bulls kicked for points and took the lead to 24-13.

At half time the Blue Bulls looked like they were in full control of the match playing some intelligent rugby with great forward play from their big men.

It took not long in the second half for the Blue Bulls to get that bonus point try as they got an early turnover and Piet Van Zyl sprinting half the field for the try.

The Blue Bulls then lost a man to the bin when Snyman cleaned the ruck with a swinging arm.

Even with a man down the Blue Bulls kept the pressure on the set pieces and they got another try from a quick free kick to take the score to 36-13 after 55 min.

Another penalty mistake from Griquas gives Blue Bulls Piet van Zyl a chance to take it quick and score another try for the Blue Bulls taking the score to 43-13 after 60 min.

Griquas did hit back with 15 min to go through a quick tap and a great try to get their first points in the second half.

As it was not bad enough for Griquas in the scrum they got a penalty try against them after a massive scrum from the Blue Bulls close to their line.

The Blue Bulls still has one more try in them before the end of the game to make a massive statement beating Griquas 57-20.


For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: De Jager, Ulengo, Snyman, Van Zyl 2, Beyers, penalty try, Basson
Cons: Schoeman 6
Pen: Schoeman
Yellow card: Snyman

For the Griquas: Bock, Putuma
Tries: Bock
Cons: Swart 2
Pen: Swart 2
Yellow card: Zito


Match Preview – Blue Bulls v Griquas


With the Currie Cup getting closer to the play-offs every single point will be important for each team and even more so for the Blue Bulls and Griquas when they meet on Friday night at Loftus.


This promise to be another great match in this years Currie Cup and one of the games of the weekend.

With the Blue Bulls on 20 points and Griquas on 19 on the log the winning team will at least secure a third spot after this weekend with only two rounds left before the play-offs.

Both teams comes into the match with confidence with the Blue Bulls barging with great wins over the Golden Lions and Pumas in recent weeks and Griquas have not lost since the first weekend of the competition against the Sharks.

As the Blue Bulls will play their last match at Loftus they will want to take full points going into the business end of the competition.

Griquas made three changes to their side with Zito coming in for Putuma and Kotze and Roberts replacing Morison and Martinus at prop.

Flanker Roelof Smit will make a first start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls. Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais also made two rotational changes in the pack as well. Jaco Visagie will start at hooker, swopping places with Bandise Maku, who moves to the bench, while Pierre Schoeman rotates with Lizo Gqoboka at loosehead.

The return to fitness of Jannes Kirsten and Jason Jenkins will see both playing off the bench

Prediction: Another tight one but with home ground advantage I give it to the Blue Bulls with 6 points.

The teams:

Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Jason Jenkins, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Bjorn Basson/Divan Rossouw

Griquas: Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Stephan Kotze , 2 Abraham Le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Wandile Putuma, 19 Jonathan Adendorf, 20 Renier Botha, 21 Andre Swart, 22 Eric Zana


Roelof Smith starts for Blue Bulls against Griquas


Flanker Roelof Smit will make a first start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup against Griquas at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.


Smit, who played off the bench against the Golden Lions and Steval Pumas in the last two weeks, will pack down at the side of the scrum for this crucial clash in place of Ruan Steenkamp, who is out injured.

Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais made two rotational changes in the pack as well. Jaco Visagie will start at hooker, swopping places with Bandise Maku, who moves to the bench, while Pierre Schoeman rotates with Lizo Gqoboka at loosehead.

The return to fitness of Jannes Kirsten and Jason Jenkins will see both playing off the bench. Kirsten fills the spot vacated by Smit and Jenkins replaces Irne Herbst on the bench. Amongst the backs replacements, Bjorn Basson is bracketed with Divan Rossouw, but will play if declared fit.

Marais urged his troops to deliver their best performance of the season.

“We will have to be play our best game of the year. Griquas is playing awesome rugby at the moment and is such a well-balanced team. They will be difficult to break down, so we will need a first class effort to keep them out.”

The coach welcomes Smit as a starter. “Roelof has certainly added value coming off the bench, and although it is sad that Ruan Steenkamp misses out, I know Roelof will not disappoint.”

Hanro Liebenberg, who will captain the team for the second time, stressed the importance of keeping the momentum going.

“We have started to play good rugby over the last two weeks where the good things we do overshadowed the bad ones. That is what we train for, to improve every week and become a better team. Griquas will bash away at any cracks we show, so we need to dominate them, hopefully with the support of the home crowd at Loftus.”

The team is: Ulrich Beyers, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Tian Schoeman, Piet van Zyl, Hanro Liebenberg (c), Nic de Jager, Roelof Smit, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Jacobie Adriaanse, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Bandise Maku, Martin Dreyer, Jason Jenkins, Jannes Kirsten, Andre Warner, Joshua Stander, Bjorn Basson/Divan Rossouw.

Match Preview – Pumas v Blue Bulls


This last game of this weekend Currie Cup games see the Pumas hosting the Blue Bulls in Nelspruit on Saturday night.


With the Pumas without a win yet this season and the Blue Bulls blowing hot and cold both teams will want to step up with the Blue Bulls to state a claim at one of those four semi final spots.

Coming off a great win over the defending champions, the Golden Lions last weekend at Loftus the team will want to improve this weekend and get the five points on offer. The log is starting to get congested with six teams realistically still in at a change for the play-offs.

The Blue Bulls would have also noted that Griquas have moved above them in third place with a game in hand after this weekend matches which makes this a must win for the men from Pretoria.

For the Pumas it has been a real disappointing season and even manage to loose the game last weekend against Boland leaving them at the bottom of the table with the EP Kings.

Although their chances of making the play-offs are long gone they now need to start building the team which is to much better that what the log shows at this stage.

Playing at home will give them that little bit of help and they will need to use everything the can to beat this settled Blue Bulls side. With a few injury concerns for the Blue Bulls the Pumas may cause an unlikely upset but that is not on the cards it seems.

Currently, the Bulls lie third on the log, and a bonus-point win over the Pumas on Saturday night could well see them emerge as strong contenders to finish in the top two.


One can not see the Blue Bulls losing this one so I have to give it to them with a bonus point try.


Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Marlou van Niekerk, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 De-Jay Terblanche.
Subs: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Louis Albertse, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Leighton van Wyk, 22 Ruwellyn Isbell.

Blue Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Irné Herbst, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Divan Rossouw.


Currie Cup Wrap – WP and Blue Bulls biggest winners


Western Province and the Blue Bulls was the biggest winners this weekend in round 5 of this years Currie Cup with wins over the Sharks at Newlands and Golden Lions at Loftus.

CC2016 Bigger

It was a real important win for  both teams and almost a must win situation for both teams as they faced two of the top teams in the Currie Cup at home. The Free State Cheetahs kept to their winning ways in Bloemfontein against the EP Kings and Boland sprang a surprise with a great win over the Pumas on Friday.

In the midweek game in Kimberley Griquas was too good for the EP Kings with a brilliant second half making the log looking nicely for a great second half of this years Currie Cup.


Here is a roundup of all the matches this week…

Final Griquas

It was a close game in the first half but Griquas ran riot in second half to take a convincing 47-24 win over the EP Kings.

The first half just not seemed to wanted to get started for both teams as both tried to run the ball but made too many mistakes to really get over the defensive structures.

Griquas was the team with most of the possession but made as much mistakes on attack but one had to give credit to the EP Kings scrambled defense.

It was Griquas who scored first through Putuma and gave them the early lead of 7-0.

EP Kings hit back straight away with a beautiful backline move to send Isaacs over in the corner. The try stunned Griquas a bit and they started to put pressure on themselves.

Griquas was the next to score after sustain pressure on the Kings line when Janse Van Rensburg went over for their second try of the match.

Many believed it would be here where the Griquas will pull away but the EP Kings had other plan first with a long range penalty and then a beautiful try just before half time with Isaacs again the man over.

That gave them the lead of 17-14 at halftime.

Griquas came out in the second half like a house of fire and scored three quick tries to take the lead and control over the game.

It would always have been difficult for the EP Kings to come back from a 35-17 score line but they never gave up.

Life for the Kings was not made easy with them having a player send-off with a yellow card which also saw Griquas scored another try, their sixth of the match to get the score to 40-17 and totally in control with EP Kings having to play with no ball at all.

EP Kings did come back at the end of the match to score a late try and bring the final score to 47-24.


Griquas – Tries: Wandile Putuma, Jono van Rensburg, Ederies Arendse, Alshaun Bock, AJ Coertzen (2), Eric Zana. Conversions: Clinton Swart (6).
EP Kings – Tries: Alcino Izaacs (2), Cullen Callopy. Conversions: Lungelo Goza (2), Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalty: Goza.

Boland win

The Boland Kavaliers have surprised on Friday afternoon after beating the Pumas in Wellington 25-22 in a tight affair.

The Pumas did not help themselves with earning a red card in the 26th minute of the game and had to play the rest of the game with 14 men. The Pumas midfield player Fisher was red carded for using the elbow on Van Wyk after a tackle.

One must say that even with a man down the Pumas did not let go of the match and they were in it until the last minute if the match. The played well and put a brilliant performance together with the man down.

With the win Boland have moved up to sixth place above Western Province but Province have two games in hands. The Pumas have not find this season as happy one with four losses out of four games and sitting second last on the log at this stage.

For the Pumas it was once again their inspirational captain Renaldo Bothma who stood out in attack and on defense putting like always, his body on the line.

With a bit better day with the boot the Pumas could have had a different outcome as Brummer missed to easy kicks.

Boland captain Ryan Nel was forced off in the 11th minute after being hit by a dangerous tackle which caused a flurry. Boland were awarded a penalty and Namibian flyhalf Theuns Kotze got his sides’ first points.

The game never got away from either team and it was in the balance till the end of the game which made for a great contest to watch.

Pumas then scored in the dying minutes of the game through Kevin Luiters with some fantastic running skills but it was not enough to give his side the win.

The Scorers:

For Boland:
Tries: Carelse, Adendorff, Louw
Cons: Kotze 2
Pens: Kotze
Drop goal: Kotze
Yellow card: Adendorff

For Pumas:
Tries: Herne, Bothma, Van Wyk, Luiters
Cons: Brummer
Red card: Fisher

Bulls win

It was seen as one of the games of the weekend as the Blue Bulls hosted the Golden Lions at Loftus.

The game struggled to get going with both teams struggle to get any forward momentum and making too many handling errors. In ten minutes we had more scrums than what we seen in most eighty minute games.

The scrums were a struggle from the start with both teams giving away penalties and free kicks.

The Blue Bulls got into an early lead with two penalties from the boot of Schoeman.

The Lions did get one back when Boshoff got his first penalty over to take the lead down by three points.

It was the Golden Lions that scored first from a great string run from Rohan Janse van Rensburg. It also gave the Lions the lead but the Blue Bulls hit straight back with an intercept try to again lead the Blue Bulls with 16-10 after 32 min.

It seems that sparked both teams to star playing some great running rugby and giving the small crowd something to cheer about.

The end of the half was all the Lions as they attack well past the hooter to get that try and go in the lead at half time but the Blue Bulls defense was brilliant to keep them out.

The Blue Bulls took the lead 16-10 at half time and all to play for in the second half.

The second half the Lions started the better of the two teams but again the Blue Bulls defense was again up to anything the Lions thrown at them.

They were also getting better momentum on attack and score their second try from a great lineout move to extend their lead to 21-10 after 50 min.

It seems that the Blue Bulls was much better in the contact situations and hitting the rucks much harder that the Lions forwards.

It was Kwagga Smith that got the Lions in back in the game with a great try to get them again within 4 points of the Blue Bulls.

This did not last long as the Blue Bulls again had a great scrum and force a penalty to make it again a seven-point lead with 16 min to play.

The Blue Bulls defense seemed to have been doing enough to win the game as they just kept on hitting the Lions back on attack and getting turnovers as easy as ice cream on a Sunday.

The Blue Bulls got another try through a great break from Travis Ismaiel and with that sealed the game.

The Lions kept on making mistakes on attack losing the ball in contact and just could not get momentum.

This was one of the better wins for the Blue Bulls beating the Lions in defense and with some brilliant defense.


Blue Bulls – Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Marvin Orie, Joshua Stander. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2). Penalties: Schoeman (4).
Golden Lions – Tries: Howard Mnisi, Kwagga Smith. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (2). Penalty: Boshoff.

Full Free State win Kings

The Free State and EP Kings was always going to be a difficult match for the Kings who had to play three games in seven days this week.

The start of the game was very loose and plenty of mistakes from both sides but more so from the Free State.

It was the EP Kings that scored first with some brilliant handling skills and speed in the backline to take the early lead in the match.

The Cheetahs came back with two penalties before they scored their first try through Lee after a typical Free State backline move. This gave the Free State the lead and the ascendancy in the match.

The second try for the Cheetahs did not take long to stretch that lead to 18-7 after 25 min.

The rest of the half was more or less with both teams trying but mistakes stopping their attacks.

The Free State did score one more try before halftime with Schoeman bouldering over in the corner.

That gave the Free State a halftime lead of 23-10.

The second half was much about the same with both teams trying to let the ball do the work but with so many mistakes on attack no one could get dominance early on to get over the others defense.

It was the Free State that finally went over for the first time when Schoeman yet again crosses the line for the Free State bonus point try.

The Free State started to put more phases together and the passes started to stick as they pull quickly away on the scoreboard with two quick tries.

That took the score to 38-13 with 10 min to go.

The Free State were not finished as they started to dominate all aspects of the game. Lee put the perfect kick through and collect it himself to score his second try of the match.

Both teams run in some more tries but at the end the Free State was just too good for the EP Kings winning the game 57-25.

For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Lee 2, Botha, Schoeman 2, Marais 2, Nche, Marais
Cons: Zeilinga, Marais 2
Pens: Zeilinga 2

For the Kings:
Tries: Greyling, Klaasen, Jobo
Cons: De Wet, Marais
Pens: De Wet
Drop goal: De Wet

WP wen

Western Province ended the Sharks unbeaten run on Saturday at Newlands when they beat the Sharks with 34-27.

It was made out of one of the matches of the weekend at Newlands between these two sides and they did not disappoint.

The game start fast with both teams wanting to run the ball but it was a great inside pass from Robert Du Preez to Kotze that got Western Province their first try of the match.

The Sharks quickly hit back with a penalty to get on the scoreboard  after just a few minutes. Western Province quickly extend the lead with a brilliant kick ahead from Du Preez which found the speedy Kok to score a great try for the sevens star.

The Sharks and Western Province traded penalties to get the score to 17-6 after 20 min. With the Sharks starting to dominate play they also had more opportunities on attack and it took not long for them to score their first try.

It was a quick take from a penalty that send  u Preez over in the corner for their first try of the match for the Sharks. This made Western Province only a 17-14 lead after 29 min.

With the Sharks keeping the pressure on Western Province they got penalty after penalty to firstly get level on the scoreboard and then just before halftime took the lead  20-17.

Sharks fullback Bosch had another brilliant first half and kicked everything from almost anywhere on the field. His tactical kicking was again first class and also did his bit on attack.

The Second half was all WP as they scored a brilliant try from yet another cross kick from Du Preez to take the lead. It was Viljoen at the end of that kick to score in the corner.

Thing did not improved for the Sharks as they then got a yellow card for a dangerous tackle and started to give a few penalties away to give Western Province forward momentum.

With the time starting to run out both teams tried to run the ball and some big hits stopping both teams on attack. Western Province then got a massive drive away from a line out and scored another brilliant try in the corner to take the score to 27-20 after 60 min.

At this stage the Sharks had almost no ball and was making mistakes on attack that gave Western Province more opportunities with their dangerous backline.

The last 20 min was exciting from both sides trying to get on top of the scoreboard and game. It was Western Province who again scored with 10 minutes to go through yet another great kick for Viljoen from the boot of Du Preez to take the score to 34-20.

The Sharks did come back with a try but it was a little too late as the game ended with a win for Western Province 34-27.

It was a great bonus point win for Western Province and they will take much heart from this win to take to next week massive clash against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Robert du Preez was a worthy man of the match with a brilliant display of fly half rugby today when his team needed it most

The scorers: 

For Western Province:
Tries: Kotze, Kok, Viljoen 2, Van Dyk
Cons: Du Preez
Pens: Du Preez 2

For the Sharks:
Tries: Du Preez, Smith
Cons: Bosch
Pens: Bosch 5
Yellow card: Du Preez

Blue Bulls too good for Golden Lions at Loftus


It was seen as one of the games of the weekend as the Blue Bulls hosted the Golden Lions at Loftus.

Bulls win

The game struggled to get going with both teams struggle to get any forward momentum and making too many handling errors. In ten minutes we had more scrums than what we seen in most eighty minute games.

The scrums were a struggle from the start with both teams giving away penalties and free kicks.

The Blue Bulls got into an early lead with two penalties from the boot of Schoeman.

The Lions did get one back when Boshoff got his first penalty over to take the lead down by three points.

It was the Golden Lions that scored first from a great string run from Rohan Janse van Rensburg. It also gave the Lions the lead but the Blue Bulls hit straight back with an intercept try to again lead the Blue Bulls with 16-10 after 32 min.

It seems that sparked both teams to star playing some great running rugby and giving the small crowd something to cheer about.

The end of the half was all the Lions as they attack well past the hooter to get that try and go in the lead at half time but the Blue Bulls defense was brilliant to keep them out.

The Blue Bulls took the lead 16-10 at half time and all to play for in the second half.

The second half the Lions started the better of the two teams but again the Blue Bulls defense was again up to anything the Lions thrown at them.

They were also getting better momentum on attack and score their second try from a great lineout move to extend their lead to 21-10 after 50 min.

It seems that the Blue Bulls was much better in the contact situations and hitting the rucks much harder that the Lions forwards.

It was Kwagga Smith that got the Lions in back in the game with a great try to get them again within 4 points of the Blue Bulls.

This did not last long as the Blue Bulls again had a great scrum and force a penalty to make it again a seven-point lead with 16 min to play.

The Blue Bulls defense seemed to have been doing enough to win the game as they just kept on hitting the Lions back on attack and getting turnovers as easy as ice cream on a Sunday.

The Blue Bulls got another try through a great break from Travis Ismaiel and with that sealed the game.

The Lions kept on making mistakes on attack losing the ball in contact and just could not get momentum.

This was one of the better wins for the Blue Bulls beating the Lions in defense and with some brilliant defense.


Blue Bulls – Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Marvin Orie, Joshua Stander. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2). Penalties: Schoeman (4).
Golden Lions – Tries: Howard Mnisi, Kwagga Smith. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (2). Penalty: Boshoff.

Man of the Match Pierre Schoeman

man bulls


Match Preview – Blue Bulls v Golden Lions


The Blue Bulls host the Golden Lions on Friday night in Pretoria better known as the Jukskei Derby and it could be one of the matches of the season.

Blue Bulls v Golden Lions

With the Blue Bulls busy building a formidable team of youngster in Pretoria the Golden Lions are welcoming back some star players for the Loftus clash on Friday. The biggest of them all is the return of Rohan Janse van Rensburg who will take his place yet again in the Lions midfield.

The Lions team also sees Kwagga Smith back who will add some extra spark for the forwards after recently winning a bronze medal in Rio with the Springbok Sevens team.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais is confident the aura of Loftus will give his side the edge. “We are back at Loftus Versfeld, so have no excuses,” said Marais. “We play our best rugby here and enjoy massive support. The Golden Lions fans will remind us that we lost here last time we played and that is a good dose of reality. We have not been at our best and still need to play for this season. “This is an ideal opportunity to do it against the defending champions. We could not ask for a bigger challenge.”

The Blue Bulls was forced to make some changes with Pierre Schoeman that will start in the number one jersey  ahead of Lizo Gqoboka. Hanro Liebenberg starts at eight for the injured Jannes Kirsten and Arno Botha moves to blindside flank with Roelof Smit that will provide loose-forward cover from the reserves.

In the Super Rugby match at Loftus earlier this year the Lions put fifty points past the men from Pretoria and they will not want a repeat of that day comes Friday night.

The Golden Lions went to a solid 38-17 win over the Blue Bulls in the same match last year and they are on a high after last week win at home. The Blue Bulls although not at all bad were beaten by the Sharks last weekend in Durban.

As we have said all along this season with one round of matches you cannot afford to lose too many and especially at home if you want to be their at semi-finals time. The Blue Bulls have now lost already two matches this year and cannot really afford another slip-up.

Prediction: Lions will be too good for Blue Bulls with at least 10 points.

Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Arno Botha (c), 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje (c), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Victor Sekekete, 19 Fabian Booysen, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Jacques Nel



Nollis keep much of the same for Golden Lions match


Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais opted to pick his strongest possible side to face the defending champions, the Golden Lions for their match at Loftus this weekend.



Nollis have the luxury of a great player depth and it is shown in his lose trio selection of three previous Springbok U20 captain in Hanro Liebenberg(2015), Ruab Steenkamp(2013) and Arno Botha(2011). This is a formidable trio which they Golden Lions will have to contend with at Loftus.

Pierre Schoeman will start at loosehead prop in place of Lizo Gqoboka. Liebenberg comes in to back row for the injured Jannes Kirsten.

Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais did not change too much to his team that came within a whisker of drawing the match in Durban against the undefeated Sharks, with the same starting backline running out.

We are back at Loftus Versfeld, so have no excuses,” said Marais. “We play our best rugby here and enjoy massive support. The Golden Lions fans will remind us that we lost here last time we played and that is a good dose of reality. We have not been at our best and still need to play for this season.”

“This is an ideal opportunity to do it against the defending champions. We could not ask for a bigger challenge.”

Botha pointed to the strong second half performance.

We started well, then lapsed and finished well. That is what we need to improve on, especially against the Lions, who play such a high-paced game. We need to play to our strengths and our speed and for that, we need to control possession and territory.

The Blue Bulls side to host the Golden Lions….

Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Arno Botha (c), 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers


Travis Ismaiel, The Blue Bulls’ deadliest weapon


Travis Ismaiel is one of the wingers that has glided under the radar in this year’s Super Rugby, writes Benedict Chanakira


What the winger offers is an imposing frame and subtle brilliance and the best outside back at Loftus and he holds the potential to be their biggest trump card. The Blue Bulls are laden with talent in their back line with players with international pedigree like Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard and Jan Serfontein.

Young stars that have emerged in that squad includes Jamba Ulengo the 100kg unit and Warrick Gelant the dancing gazelle.

Ismaiel has gone somewhat unnoticed on several occasions but has emerged as the Bulls biggest weapon from the back.

Travis speaks glowingly about what is close to his heart, ‘”I am a chilled, laid back person and family orientated man. My daughter is definitely my motivation and I have a dream and I am chasing it.

The 24 year old was brilliant for the Bulls this season, he has always been a player here and there. Efficient at junior Currie Cup level but never quite set the world alight but Travis was at hand to earn a solitary cap in the talented 2012 Baby Boks side due to an injury.

The winger is an all-round weapon and he has managed to rack in the meters with only SP Marais has managed to make more. He has been able to break the line twelve times which leaves him top alongside Jesse Kriel and Jamba Ulengo.

“I believe I am a strong finisher, have remarkable work-rate and use my physicality well in matches.” This is all evident when the winger plays.

Ismaiel tops the try scoring charts with six alongside skipper Adriaan Strauss at the franchise and his try against the Cheetahs at the end of the season is one to remember as he stretched over with a few defenders on him, a demonstration of his explosiveness, power and strength.

This is something further highlighted as he racks up 31 defenders beaten. His handling and evasive skills are also impressive as he has often managed to find support with an offload.  Only Jan Serfontein has one more offload with 7 in the backs than Travis.

The Blue Bulls continue to evolve their game with the winger a key player in their plans going forward. Currently recovering from a groin niggle as he looks to return on the pitch soon.

One would point at his missed tackle count of 14 which shows a weakness in that department, however consideration must be made to the fact wingers often chase kicks and considering the Blue Bulls kick often one could make sense of this statistic which can be deceptive.

The Bulls are at a fragile stage of their development and it’s quite a joy to see them add wingers who offer all-round skills from being explosive through contact, power, speed, high-ball prowess, a rugby brain and a willingness to keep defenders guessing.

Ismaiel has the potential to be a Springbok and will no doubt be knocking on that door. His performance in the SA A games were enough to highlight his brilliance.

On his selection for the SA ‘A’ squad, “It was a special experience. I got to play with new guys and also had to deal with different coaching methods. I managed to learn certain lessons in this rugby journey and it was exciting. I enjoyed my season. It was great, an injury free run which gave me the opportunity to play often and it was exciting playing with Warrick and Jamba at the beginning of the season.”

When quizzed on where he wants to be in five years? “I will be 29 years,” as he quipped, after we exchange a roar of laughter, he speaks of his goal to wear the green and gold and to become a regular in the Springbok team. The shy, silent assassin is the Bulls’ best outside back and he is quietly gaining a strong reputation.

Keep an eye on him as he looks to develop and become one of the World’s best.

Blue Bulls Kirsten out for three weeks


The Blue Bulls have lost flanker Jannes Kirsten after he was injured during their loss against Sharks over the weekend. 



Kirsten injured his AC joint and could be out for up to three weeks.

Otherwise Bulls centre Jade Stiglingh is making steady progress with his ankle injury but is unlikely to get game time before the start of the play-offs.

Second-row Jason Jenkins is making steady progress with his injury and should be back in two weeks while Daniel Kriel will be out for the whole season due to his shoulder injury and will have to be operated on.

In some positive news for the Pretoria outfit, Neethling Fouché comes back into the side after recovering from a fracture to his hand.

Vodacom Blue Bulls “#UpTheirGame” on Casual Day,


On Friday, 2nd September the Vodacom Blue Bulls will go head-to-head with the Xerox Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld for a Currie Cup premier division clash.

Blue Bulls

The significance of this game is the pledge by the Vodacom Blue Bulls to utilise the fixture and the hype around it to raise awareness for South Africans with disabilities and to support the national Casual Day campaign, which takes place on the same day as the match. The 22-year old campaign is celebrated every year to help raise funds and awareness in support of persons with disabilities. The 2016 Casual Day theme, “Up Your Game”, calls on every individual or organisation to donate R10 for their official Casual Day sticker to allow them to gear up in sports attire to support persons with disabilities, and the Vodacom Blue Bulls have more than taken up this challenge.

Shanil Mangaroo, head of marketing at the Vodacom Blue Bulls, expressed delight on behalf of the team and management at being able to assist with this amazing cause: “Our friends at the NCPPDSA have done superb work over the years in building the Casual Day concept into something that is eagerly anticipated on an annual basis. We are extremely excited about our involvement, and are really looking forward to getting the #BullsFamily behind it.  Among a host of other initiatives, the team will be playing ‘delivery boys’ on 31 August, personally delivering casual day stickers and game day tickets to sponsors and partners. This will be structured as a lighted-hearted and fun event based on the ‘Amazing Race’ concept. Fans are encouraged to follow and share the day on social media using #UpYourGame, thus increasing the social awareness around the cause.”

Fans and supporters who attend the game will be able to donate R10 and get their official Casual Day stickers at the designated Casual Day stands or from volunteers who will be on standby in and around the stadium. “Up Your Game” Casual Day T-shirts, hats, foam hands and other fun items will also be available at the Casual Day stands. All funds raised through the Casual Day campaign goes to empowering and supporting persons with disabilities and providing much-needed resources to beneficiaries of the cause.

Last year, Casual Day raised R27 million which is being used by participating NGOs to support persons with disabilities in terms of advocating for their rights, helping with accessibility to schools, health facilities and other resources like special equipment. This year the goal of the campaign is to raise R32 million to assist and support a wider community and even more beneficiaries.

“We are excited that the Vodacom Blue Bulls will be “Upping their Game” in support of the Casual Day campaign. This game will provide the Casual Day campaign the platform needed to raise awareness for persons with disabilities. We hope that many fellow South Africans will be encouraged to support our cause that benefits over 500 NGOs and schools forpersons with disabilities throughout South Africa. Thank you to the VodacomBlue Bulls! ,” said National Director of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), founders of the Casual Daycampaign.

Get your tickets for the game now at www.ticketpros.co.za and remember to “Up Your Game” this Casual Day in support of persons with disabilities in South Africa. You can also get your official Casual Day sticker at Shoprite, Checkers, Game, Dion Wired, Edgars, Jet, Jet Mart, Edgars Active, Red Square, Boardmans, CNA, Legit, and Toys “R” Us stores or at participating NGOs. Visit www.casualday.co.za to find your nearest NGO.

bulls casual

About Casual Day

Casual Day is a fundraising campaign in support of NGOs and persons with disabilities. The national campaign was founded by the NCPPDSA over twenty years ago and is now celebrated on the first Friday of September annually. Communities support the cause, donate and join in the fun of fancy dressing to show support of persons with disabilities. Casual Day also supports schools, homes and employment programmes for people with disabilities.

For more information on Casual Day visit www.casualday.co.za or follow on Facebook/CasualDaySA and Twitter/CasualDay_SA

Swanepoel back in Blue Bulls starting fifteen


Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais made three changes to his starting team that will face the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday. The coach was forced into a change in the midfield with Dan Kriel injured in the match against the EP Kings, but as it happens, Dries Swanepoel is fit again and available for selection.


Swanepoel and Burger Odendaal will combine in the midfield, while Travis Ismaiel will make his first appearance in the competition on the wing. Ismaiel is also back to full fitness and replaces Bjorn Basson.

Up front, the vastly experienced Jacobie Adriaanse will make a first start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls. Adriaanse has played in 61 Currie Cup matches for Boland, the Xerox Golden Lions and made his Blue Bulls debut last weekend off the bench.

On the bench, Bandise Maku will take over from Edgar Marathlulle at hooker and Martin Dreyer takes over from Adriaanse on the bench.

Marais had a six-two bench against the Kings, but reverted back to the four-three option for this clash. This means Ulrich Beyers comes into the match 22 as utility back and Pierre Schoeman misses out.

Irne Herbst is also replaced by Nic de Jager, who also returned to full fitness.

“We certainly had good moments against the Kings and scored some great tries,” Marais said.

“But we were also very loose at times and allowed them to stay in the match much longer than they should. The Sharks have shown their class in the competition already and we will certainly not be allowed such leeway in Durban.”

Marais was pleased to see the progress of the side on attack.

“We want to score tries, this is part of our strategy, so the 15 tries scored so far is right up there with the leading teams. We have conceded 15 tries as well, the most in the competition and that is not something we can be proud of. So as much as we want to play ball in hand, we need to work harder when on defence,” Marais said.

Vodacom Blue Bulls captain, Arno Botha, agreed that they need a mind shift on defence. “I don’t doubt the ability or desire of our team to defend our tryline, but our communication on defence is letting us down. That said, we worked hard this week and I am confident that we will be a force to be reckoned with in Durban. It is a massive game for us and we want to make a statement.”

The team is (with Currie Cup caps): Duncan Matthews (2), Travis Ismaiel (14), Dries Swanepoel (12), Burger Odendaal (24), Jamba Ulengo (15), Tian Schoeman (17), Piet van Zyl (34), Arno Botha (c, 27), Jannes Kirsten (6), Ruan Steenkamp (6), Marvin Orie (14), RG Snyman (12), Jacobie Adriaanse (61), Jaco Visagie (11), Lizo Gqoboka (59). Replacements: Bandise Maku (76), Martin Dreyer (1), Nic de Jager (1), Hanro Liebenberg (6), Andre Warner (4), Joshua Stander (2), Ulrich Beyers (13).

Renaldo Bothma starts for Blue Bulls


Namibian World Cup star Renaldo Bothma will make his Vodacom Blue Bulls debut on Saturday when the Pretoria side takes on EP Kings in Port Elizabeth in the Currie Cup Qualifying tournament.


The abrasive Bothma, who had provincial stints with the Golden Lions, Leopards, Pumas and Sharks prior to the 2015 RWC, joined the Vodacom Bulls squad earlier this year, although injured at the time. He is fully fit now and keen to make an impression against the Port Elizabeth team.

Coach Hendré Marnitz made a number of changes to the side that came up short against the Xerox Golden Lions in Alberton two weeks ago.

The likes of JT Jackson, Duncan Naude, Manie Libbok and Aston Fortuin are training with the Junior Springboks with only Libbok and Fortuin included on the bench. Duncan Matthews starts at fullback in place of Libbok, while Alcino Isaacs and Adrian Maebane comes in for Jackson and Naude.

Bothma’s inclusion will see Ruan Steenkamp move to flank in a new combination with Nic de Jager. Freddy Ngoza moves to the bench and Tsomondo drops out.

Tighthead prop Dayan van Der Westhuizen will start in the front row and replace injured Entienne Swanepoel. A new face on the bench is winger Duhan van der Merwe, while former Bok Dean Greyling is also fit again and will play off the bench.

Marnitz conceded the need for a good result.

“One win from four starts is not great and we know it. We have not found the consistency in our play that we need, but I am pleased with the way we trained and prepared. We will give it a good go and I am confident that we will be very competitive in Port Elizabeth.”

Kick-off is at 14h15

The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to play EP Kings are: Duncan Matthews, Kefentse Mahlo, Alcino Isaacs, Adrian Maebane, Jade Stighlingh, Joshua Stander, Ivan van Zyl, Renaldo Bothma, Nic de Jager, Ruan Steenkamp, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Abongile Nonkontwana, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Corniel Els, Nqobisizwe Mxoli. Replacements: Jan van der Merwe, Dean Greyling, Aston Fortuin, Freddy Ngoza, Andre Warner, Manie Libbok, Duhan van der Merwe.

Bulls wants Lood


Lood_de_Jager_Player_of_the_Year_award_620_395_s_c1_top_topSpringbok lock Lood de Jager is on top of the Bulls’ list of possible signings ahead of next year’s Super Rugby tournament, writes SARugbyMAG.co.za

The Pretoria-based franchise are looking to beef up their forward pack with muscle and experience, ahead of the 2017 season.

In contrast to seasons past, the Bulls are sporting a very talented backline this year, but are lacking the experience upfront to complement their attacking approach. They have lost stalwarts Victor Matfield, Pierre Spies and Flip van der Merwe recently, and with Bok props Marcel van der Merwe and Werner Kruger heading off to Europe soon, the hunt is on to fill the gaps.

‘There will be some acquisitions,’ a trusted source told Rapport. ‘We are aggressively looking for players who will make an impact in the pack.’

The Bulls are also looking to add some experience to their loose forwards. Promising flankers Jannes Kirtsen and Roelof Smit have performed well so far this season. But with Deon Stegmann likely to be playing his last Super Rugby tournament this year and Lappies Labuschagne moving to Japan, the Bulls will need the experience to complement the talented youngsters.

Former Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brüssow has already turned down an offer from the Bulls and is likely to accept one from Wasps in the England Premiership to replace Australian George Smith.

Full story

Bulls refuse to pay Pollard while injured


Handre_Pollard_Bulls_SR_training_2014_Lee_Warren_Gallo_Images_620_395_s_c1_top_topThe Bulls are refusing to pay Handré Pollard while he is sidelined with a knee injury due to a technicality.

The Springbok injured his shoulder in playing in the off-season for NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes which he had contract insurance and upon his return to the Bulls he injured his knee in his first training session which will see him out of action for the rest of the season.

According to a report in Die Burger, Pollard needed to play for the Bulls, after returning from Japan, in order to be covered again by the injury insurance. This leaves Pollard in loosing millions in match fees and his contract with the Bulls for Super Rugby.

Pollard already had his operation on the knee he injured are busy with his recovery.

The Bulls will on start paying Pollard again when he returns to the field.

This should be a sound warning to players who go and play in the off-season in Japan….

Bulls release Kruger after Super Rugby


Bulls-LogoThe Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Tuesday confirmed the release of Werner Kruger, who will join the Scarlets in Wales at the completion of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition in July. The prop signed a three year deal with the Welsh team.

“Werner is a true stalwart for the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls over many seasons,” said Xander Janse van Rensburg, High Performance Manager of the BBC.

“He has played over 100 Currie Cup matches and over 100 Vodacom Super Rugby matches so far for us, the only player ever to do that. We can only thank him for many years of loyal service. We know he will still give his best till his last second on the field for us, but also want to wish him the best in the next stage of his career.”

Kruger said he is looking for a different challenge in his career.

“I achieved so much with this special team and hopefully can win another Super Rugby title with them this year. I played all my rugby here since leaving school, became a Springbok, won Super Rugby titles and a Currie Cup and made friends for life, but the option with Scarlets is the right one for me at this stage of my career. I always wanted to play abroad and this offer comes at the right time. I know I still have something to offer the Bulls this season and then help Scarlets in their drive to improve as a team.”

Werner Kruger (31) made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls in 2008 against the DHL Stormers and has played 113 matches, scoring eight tries (40 points) up to date. He played in 107 Currie Cup matches for the Vodacom Blue Bulls. He also represented the South Africa Under-21 team in 2005, the Emerging Boks in 2009 and played in four tests and one tour match for the Springboks. His international debut was on 23 July 2011 vs Australia in Sydney aged 26.

The Bulls will face the Stormers in round one of this years Super Rugby at Newlands

Serfontein back in midfield to partner Kriel for Bulls



The Bulls will field two Springboks, Kriel and Serfontein in their midfield on Saturday when they take on the Emirates Lions in Polokwane

Although Kriel played most of his Springbok games under Meyer in the midfield he played all his 16 matches last year for the Bulls at fullback. Serfontein had an injury filled year in 2015 which will give him some more motivation to secure firstly his place in he Bulls midfield which could lead to a more permanent spot later for the Springboks.

If one look at the Bulls backline most expect something special from the young stars who also showed much improvement in last years Currie Cup.

Nollis have given the younger players a chance to show there worth as he picked a few of the young stars for Saturday in, Gelant, Liebenberg and Snyman all Junior Springboks. Struass will also lead the Bulls for the first time this year after being named the Bulls captain for the Super Rugby season.

“We do have a good mixture of youth and experience and that is exactly how I prefer it,” Marais said told the Bulls website, “You need some old heads in this competition, but there is no doubt that younger players brings energy and passion to any team. We would like to find the perfect balance in that and that is why this match in Polokwane is important for us. We need to settle on a team, but also on the right combinations going into the Super Rugby competition,” Marais said.

Strauss is the most experienced player in the squad with 118 Super Rugby caps and admits some nervous energy. “We are keen to make a mark this year and have some very talented players in our system. I am very keen to lead these guys into battle. The Lions are a very experienced and well-drilled team and will test us structures and systems, so this is an ideal way to prepare before the competition kicks off in a couple of weeks.”

“We are also keen to return to Polokwane, where the locals have been fantastic to us in recent visits,” Strauss said. The fact that the match will aid a good cause and supply bursaries to students is also satisfying for the squad,” he said.

The squad that will travel to Polokwane is: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Francois Brummer, Rudy Paige, Arno Botha, Hanro Liebenberg, Nic de Jager, Grant Hattingh, RG Snyman, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss (c), Trevor Nyakane. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka, Jason Jenkins, Jannes Kirsten, Piet van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Burger Odendaal, Werner Kruger, Pierre Schoeman, Jamba Ulengo, Jade Stighling.

• Tickets available at computicket.com and at the stadium from as little as R60.

Another Springbok comes back injured from Japan


Handre_Pollard_Bulls_SR_training_2014_Lee_Warren_Gallo_Images_620_395_s_c1_top_topNot too long ago we heard that Western Province and Stormers star Damien De Allende got injured while playing in Japan, and news broke this week that another Springbok youngster is also on the side-line.

Bulls and Springbok fly-half Handre Pollard is now likely also going to miss the start of the Super Rugby season after returning from his short stint in Japan. The Springbok sustained the problem while playing for Japanese club NTT Doccomo, and now it is a waiting game for Bulls coach Nollis to see how serious the injury is.

The fact remains that players and coaches are complaining time and time again of the amount of rugby they play during the year, especially the top players in your country, but then clubs and unions allow players like De Allende and Pollard to go after a World Cup and play in Japan. Surely our unions and SARU needs to start looking after our young top players as the norm these days are burnout players.

Clearly Nollis are a worried man at this stage, “Handré is a bit of a concern at the moment, we will have a discussion with his specialist and see what the route forward is,” he told Supersport. We need to decide how serious it is – is it only a two week rehab or is it more serious. I’m waiting for Thys de Beer to give me a call regarding the shoulder.”

He added on his back-up options: “It is a major concern for us, but luckily we brought in Francois Brummer last year because I knew if something like this happens, we will have a bit of a problem. “Tiaan (Schoeman) is also coming back from injury, he will be on the field next week. He had that meniscus injury so it just basically a last week of rehab that is left before he can play again.”

The Bulls begin their Super Rugby campaign on Saturday, February 27 against the Stormers at Newlands

JJ leaving Bulls for Europe



Welsh club Ospreys have announced the signing of Springbok outside back JJ Engelbrecht.

“Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce the signing of South African international JJ Engelbrecht, subject to work permit,” the club posted on their official website.

In what has been described as “a major coup” for the region, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most exciting backs is set to arrive at the Liberty Stadium this month on a contract that runs until the end of the current European season.

The 26-year old Engelbrecht has been capped 12 times by South Africa, scoring four tries, having established himself as a hard running centre/wing combining pace and power at 1.9m tall and 95kg.

Andrew Millward, Ospreys’ Rugby General Manager, commented:

“For the Ospreys to secure such a quality player is a major coup and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the region.

“Clearly, with the enforced retirement of Andrew Bishop and the long-term injury to Ashley Beck, we’ve found our midfield resources stretched at times this season. JJ is a much needed, quality addition to the squad, who not only brings experience at the highest end of the game, but also a real dynamism in the wider channels.

“He fits the mould in terms of what we are looking for in his position. All successful teams need significant strength in depth and we’ve been talking about adding depth to the squad for a fair while. Clearly, supplementing our current options with a quality player like JJ will help us as we look to compete on two fronts in 2016.”

From Port Elizabeth, Engelbrecht first made an impact in the Currie Cup with Western Province where, as a 20-year old, he was among the replacements in a memorably tight contest against the 2009 British & Irish Lions.

With a growing reputation in his homeland he was snapped up by the Bulls in 2011 and made his Super Rugby debut the following year with his international bow coming that same summer.

He has been a mainstay of the Bulls’ Super Rugby squad over the last four seasons, not missing a single game in either of the last two seasons and playing every minute of their 2015 campaign in the No 13 shirt. In total, he has made 65 appearances for the Bulls, scoring nine tries.

Off the back of last year’s Super Rugby season he headed to Japan for the 2015/16 campaign with Toyota Industries and will arrive at the Liberty Stadium this month following the conclusion of the Top League season.

Vodacom Bulls confirm management teams for 2016




Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais on Monday announced his management team for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season, with the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd also confirming the management teams for the rest of the Blue Bulls teams for next year.

Marais will take charge of his first season of Super Rugby with former Springboks loose forward Anton Leonard as his forwards coach and former Vodacom Blue Bulls backline coach David Manual as the backline coach.

Former Springbok Tim Dlulane continue in his role as team manager, as is baggage master, Elias Bennet. The technical team to assist the coaches are John-William Meyer and Divan Strydom, who will also act as kicking coaches. SARU Mobi-Unit member Louis Koen will assist them in this regard when needed.

Gary Botha (scrums and break down) and Pine Pienaar (defence) will be involved with both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup sides, as well as the junior sides in this capacity.

Dr. Herman Rossouw is the new team doctor for senior teams. Wernich Smith, Pieter du Plessis, Sanell Morgan, Khuliso Netshivhagani and Karabo Morokane will be utilised as physiotherapists for all the teams and Elzanne van Coller as masseuse.

As with the physiotherapists, the conditioning coaches will also operate in a group.

All condition will be done in partnership with SSL and PVM, with Neil du Plessis in charge.

Henri-Charl Terblanche, Shaun du Toit, Jacus Coetzee, Mark Nicholls and Ghafoer Luckan will assist, Lee-Anne Diab will be the sport scientist and practice coordinator and will help with the conditioning as well. Andries Kabinde will be assist all teams with all store room needs.

“The partnership with SSL will help us to make better use of all the conditioners,” explained BBC’s High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg.

“We will be able to make the conditioners available to all the players, which will close down the ratio between conditioner and player considerably. We will be more effective because of the smaller groups,” said Janse van Rensburg.

“We also have an extra gymnasium, as SSL runs one from Loftus. All conditioners are involved with all teams and we will decide per season and per competition who will be involved with which team. Either way, it will still close the ration between the player/conditioner and make sure that everybody is well looked after.”

In another move, Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 coach, Hendré Marnitz, has been promoted to Currie Cup coach for 2016. He will be assisted by Denzil Frans (forwards) and Hayden Groepes (backs and technical). Nqubeku Zulu and Simon Dyidi will be team manager and baggage master in the first round of the Currie Cup and Dlulane and Bennet will take over in the second round. Zulu and Dyidi will then move to the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21’s.

Pote Human takes over from Marnitz and will coach the forwards. He will be assisted by former Springbok fullback, Bevin Fortuin, who will coach the backs, with Vainon Willis the new technical analyst.

Former Leopards coach Jaco Pienaar is the new Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-19 coach, with former Bulls player Dewey Swartbooi the new backs coach. Hendry Seerane is the team manager, Willis technical analyst and Akhona Felani the baggage master.

Karin Visser will be personal assistant to all the professional teams.

“We are restructuring our operational and logistical departments to make us more streamline and closer to each other,” Janse van Rensburg explained.

“This will also result in us pulling our amateur arm closer to us, which will strengthen our relationships with our clubs. In order to achieve that, we extended Werner de Beer’s responsibilities into a position of Coordinator: Professional Teams, Operational, Logistics and Amateur Rugby.”

Janse van Rensburg will, with Marais, focus on the structures around professional rugby.

“This includes all matters like contracting of players and scouting and all things outside ‘the four lines’. Nollis will handle all rugby related matters ‘inside the four lines’,” Janse van Rensburg explained.

“It is fantastic that we could achieve all of this with a strong representation of former players that can carry the Bulls culture into the future. Guys like Nollis, Anton, Gary, David, Tim, Hayden, Nqubeko, Vainon, Denzil and Dewey all came through the structures. Equally pleasing is the fact that we could honour our transformation goals as well, with 50% of our management team black.”


The management teams are:

Vodacom Bulls: 

Head Coach: Nollis Marais

Forwards: Anton Leonard

Backs: David Manuel

Technical: John-William Meyer and Divan Strydom

Team Manager: Tim Dlulane

Baggage Master: Elias Bennet


Vodacom Blue Bulls

Head Coach: Hendré Marnitz

Forwards: Denzil Frans

Back and Technical: Hayden Groepes

Team Manager Round One: Nqubeku Zulu

Baggage Master Round One: Simon Dyidi

Team Manager Round Two: Tim Dlulane

Baggage Master Round Two: Elias Bennet


Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21:

Head Coach and Forwards: Pote Human

Backs: Bevin Fortuin

Technical: Vainon Willis

Team Manager: Nqubeko Zulu

Baggage Master: Simon Dyidi


Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-19

Head Coach and Forwards: Jaco Pienaar

Backs: Dewey Swartbooi

Technical: Vainon Willis

Team Manager: Hendy Seerane

Baggage Master:  Akhona Felani



Senior Team Doctor: Dr Herman Rossouw

Physiotherapists: Wernich Smith, Karabo Morokane, Pieter du Plessis, Sanell Morgan and Khuliso Netshivhagani

Masseuse: Elzanne van Coller

Conditioning coaches: Niel du Plessis, Henri-Charl Terblanche, Shaun du Toit, Jacus Coetzee, Mark Nicholls, Ghafoer Luckan

Sport scientist and practice coordinator (medical) and assistant conditioner: Lee-Anne Diab

Store Room Assistant: Andries Kabinde

Scrum and Breakdown Coach: Gary Botha

Defence Coach: Pine Pienaar

Psychologist: Dr Jannie Botha

• Dr. Org Strauss has resigned from his position as team doctor. Janse van Rensburg thanked him for years of dedicated and loyal service. “Org has been part of the team for eight years and shared the highs and lows of the team. He was a true team man and his contributions will be missed. We wish him well with his future endeavours.”

Blue Bulls take top honours at SARU Interprovincial Sevens




The Blue Bulls men’s and women’s teams on Saturday showed their class at the SARU Interprovincial Sevens at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit as they took top honours to round off a fantastic weekend for the Pretoria union.

The Blue Bulls men defeated Western Province 38-29 and the women pipped Western Province 24-22 in their respective Cup Finals in what was a thrilling tournament.

In the men’s division the Leopards defeated Eastern Province 29-24 in a sudden-death playoff to win the Plate final after finishing the match 24-24 at full time, while SWD won the Bowl Final and Boland won the Shield final.

In the Women’s section Free State won the Plate Final with a convincing 19-7 victory against the SA Students, while Eastern Province won the Bowl Final and the Blue Bulls XV won the Shield Final.

The Blue Bulls men’s side opened up their campaign with a 19-17 victory against the Pumas Lowveld and then defeated the Falcons 42-0 and the Limpopo Blue Bulls 26-0 to finish the opening day on Friday unbeaten.

This earned them a place in the Cup Quarter-final against Eastern Province, who they defeated 24-14. They went on to beat hosts, the Pumas, 22-10, in the Cup Semi-final to book their place in the final against Western Province.

The Blue Bulls women also started the tournament strongly as they defeated Eastern Province 40-0, but they went down 19-17 against the Golden Lions in their second match. They bounced back strongly, however, to defeat Boland 54-0 and the Pumas 47-0, which earned them a place in the Cup Quarter-final on Saturday.

The team picked up where they left off and beat the Free State 24-15 in the Cup Quarter-final and then registered a convincing 34-0 victory against KwaZulu-Natal in the Semi-Final. The Blue Bulls women, however, were forced to work hard in the final against Western Province and fought until the death for their 24-22 victory.

SARU Interprovincial Sevens results (Saturday, 7 November):

Border 19 – 7 SA Students (Women)

WP 20 – 7 Golden Lions (Women)

Blue Bulls 24 – EP 14

Pumas 31 – Golden Lions 5

Blue Bulls 24 – 5 Free State (Women)

Sharks 22 – 0 Griquas (Women)

WP 26 – 21 Leopards (after extra time 21-21 each)

Free State 12 – 17 Lowveld (after extra time 21-12 each)

Lions 0 – 29 SA Students (Women)

EP 26 – 12 Lions

Free State 26 – 5 Griquas (Women)

Leopards 22 -17 Free State

Blue Bulls 22 – 10 Pumas

Blue Bulls 34 – 0 Sharks (Women)

WP 21 – 14 Lowveld

Falcons 12 – 26 SWD

KZN 19 – 17 Griquas

EP 43 – 0 Falcons (Women)

Border 33 – 7 Limpopo Blue Bulls

Griffons 38 – 33 Boland

Leopards 27 – 5 Limpopo Blue Bulls (Women)

SANDF 12 – 28 Boland (Women)

Falcons 14 – 12 Free State

Blue Bulls Inv 33 – 0 Falcons (Women)

Limpopo Blue Bulls 12 – 26 Boland

Limpopo Blue Bulls 34 – 7 SANDF (Women)

SWD 26 – 7 KZN

SWD 7 – 31 EP (Women)

Border 22 – 14 Griffons

Leopards 31 – 14 Boland (Women)

Shield Finals:

Women: Limpopo Blue Bulls 10 – 24 Blue Bulls XV

Men: Falcons 17 – 26 Boland

Bowl Finals:

Women: EP 14 – 7 Leopards

Men: SWD 22 – 19 Border

Plate Final:

Women: SA Students 7 – 19 Free State

Men: EP 24 -29 Leopards (After sudden death 24 each)

Cup Finals:

Women: WP 22 – 24 Blue Bulls

Men: WP 29 – 38 Blue Bulls

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

50/50 Going into Loftus Semi-Final




By: Bunny (Jacques Nortier)


The hype maybe not that much around the Currie Cup this year as we also move into the play-off stages of the World Cup in England but the week will warm-up towards two great semi-finals this weekend.


In the first match on Friday Western Province will take on the Blue Bulls at Loftus and beside the fact that this match has always been one of the games their supporter’s life for, the Blue Bulls have been a team on the rise this year.

There supporters have been coming back to Loftus due to the way they change not just their attitude but also the way they play and it is great to see.

Both side’s supporters and players will be nervous going into this match as they two teams have been closer than what many believe this year. The Blue Bulls have been playing a much improved and attractive brand of rugby. There back three have been most properly one of the most dangerous back three in the competition but will have to overcome the pressure that is there in play-offs.

Last meeting between the two teams this year defence was Province biggest problem as the Blue Bulls backline ripped them apart in that second half after Province had a confidant lead going into the break.

The Blue Bulls biggest problem the whole year as started and ended at scrum time and this will be a concern for them as Province have been on the other side of the field with one of the best scrumming packs for the past two years in South Africa.

No team in today’s modern game can win games consistently and even more so in a play-offs scenario if you do not have a great scrum to play off. The free for all lottery from referees at scrum time will also cost team’s big time and it has become a very important part of the game.

The one thing that has been constant about Province this year were there inconsistency, almost as the French. They have been much better since Robert Du Preez took over the ten jumper as the team have a much better attacking game which have been with purpose.

We can make all the predictions we want for play-off matches but at the end of the day it is all about the hunger shown on the field by the team who wants it more and execute everything to perfection with some luck sometimes as well.

Who will take it?

It is 50/50 for me as the Blue Bulls have shown they have the talent and they are playing at home with Province who have the experience, players and game to upset the Blue Bulls at home….

So your guess is as good as mine…

Blue Bulls: Visagie out for season



Vodacom Blue Bulls hooker Jaco Visagie has been ruled out for the remainder of the Absa Currie Cup season with an ankle injury. Visagie picked up the injury against the Cell C Sharks in Durban two weeks ago. He sustained ligament damage and has been ruled out for the rest of the year.

The long term injury list has three new faces from last week. Visagie (ankle, three/four months), Jannes Kirsten (ankle, three months) and Roelof Smit (wrist, four months) have joined the regulars in Irne Herbst (knee), Piet van Zyl (knee), Hanru Liebenberg (small bowel rupture, twelve weeks), Callie Visagie (foot, three months), Morné Mellett (neck, four months), Dennis Visser (ankle, three weeks), Nic de Jager (ankle, two months) and Entienne Swanepoel (back, two weeks).

The Vodacom Blue Bulls team to face the Steval Pumas on Friday will be announced on Wednesday.

Fouche at 10 for Blue Bulls against WP


Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named flyhalf Louis Fouché in his starting team to play DHL Western Province in Cape Town on Friday. The inclusion of Fouché, who swops places with Tian Swanepoel (to the bench) is one of three similar tweaks Marais made following last weekend’s defeat to the Golden Lions.


The other tweaks see Burger Odendaal swopping places with Jan Serfontein in the midfield and Deon Stegmann swopping with Arno Botha, who moves to the bench. Stegmann is included as a flank though, with Lappies Labuschagne moving to no8, where Botha started last weekend.

In the other change, Pierre Schoeman was named at loosehead prop, with Dean Greyling dropping out of the match day squad.

“We needed to make some small adjustments as we will approach the WP match different from the one against the Lions last weekend. I have brought in Louis, Burger and Deon for a particular reason, while I think Pierre will front up come scrum time. We need to be competitive in the scrums if we want to get a result against WP, so I made a change,” Marais said.

Labuschagne is happy with the switch to the back of the scrum.

“For us to beat WP, we will have to play well as individuals as well as combinations. I think the loose trio are all capable of slotting into any of the three positions, so we should really complement each other well. Defence will probably have to win this for us, as WP remains the most attacking team in the competition,” Labuschagne said.

“We have some serious players on the bench as well, which will be important. This will take a 23 man effort to go down to Newlands and beat WP.”

The team is: Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Dries Swanepoel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Louis Fouché, Francois Hougaard, Lappies Labuschagne (c), Roelof Smit, Deon Stegmann, Marvin Orie, Jacques du Plessis, Marcel van der Merwe, Bandise Maku, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Werner Kruger, RG Snyman, Arno Botha, Ivan van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Jan Serfontein.

Bulls advertise coaching job


The Bulls’ search for a replacement for Super Rugby coach Frans Ludeke will start in earnest when the union advertise for the vacant position over the weekend.

Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan announced the latest development after Ludeke stepped down following the team’s final match of the competition in June.

“We will advertise for the Vodacom Bulls coach position for next year and will be in the media over the weekend,” Van Graan said in Pretoria on Thursday.

“We will then have a process which takes time depending on the amount of applications we receive.”

Van Graan would not reveal whether the Bulls had done any headhunting prior to advertising the position.

South African lock Victor Matfield and Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan were among the names bandied about as possible candidates.

English Premiership side Northampton Saints announced on Wednesday that Matfield would join them on a one-year deal after he was released from his coaching contract with the Bulls.

Johann van Graan’s contract with the SA Rugby Union is set to expire at the end of this year and should he apply for the job it could see him return to the Bulls as head coach.

He is widely regarded for his technical expertise and has cut his teeth at Loftus Versfeld where he played a vital role for the Bulls during their Super Rugby supremacy between 2007 and 2010 as forwards and attack coach.

Nollis Marais has emerged as a strong candidate following his appointment as Blue Bulls coach during this year’s Currie Cup.

He has rejuvenated Bulls rugby with an exciting brand and creating a winning culture in the first half of the Currie Cup competition.

The team is sitting pretty in second place on the log following five consecutive victories which included four matches where they claimed the full complement of points.

“Nollis has done really well and he has always had the respect of the Bulls and when we appointed him as interim coach we said we wanted to give him the opportunity,” Barend van Graan said.

“We wanted him to have the continuity and the result is there for everyone to see and the players have responded to that.”

Marais is believed to be keen on taking up the Super Rugby coaching role, and winning the Currie Cup title would certainly help him in his cause.

Barend van Graan said it was the union’s prerogative to decide whether they would select a candidate from the applicants.

“There is a process in our Human Resource policy and we will follow that process and I am comfortable that we have a solid process and we know what we are looking for,” he said.

#BullsFamily ….More than just a team


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Blue Bulls brand and what they stand for, it shows the world that we are more than just a rugby team… and to us it’s more than just a job or winning a game – Its about passion, pride, and most importantly FAMILY



Bulls Springboks extend stay in Pretoria


Established Springboks to continue careers with Blue Bulls

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed that a number of high profile Springboks have extended their contracts with the BBC for the next couple of seasons.

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The likes of Handre Pollard (Oct 2019), Adriaan Strauss (Oct 2019), Jesse Kriel (Oct 2019), Trevor Nyakane (Oct 2018) and Jan Serfontein (Oct 2017) all confirmed their futures with the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls by signing extensions that will keep them in Pretoria for a considerable time.

“This is a clear indication that frontline players see the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls as the ideal place to continue and build their already impressive careers,” says High Performance Manager at the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg.

“These players are all expected to be amongst the best in the world in their positions for a number of years still and should play many test matches for the Springboks while in Bulls colours. This is a massive endorsement from them towards our mission statement and drive to be one of the leading rugby teams in the world. Not only the Bulls, but South African rugby will benefit in having them based in Pretoria.”

“We believe Blue Bulls rugby has the ability to attract and retain the biggest names in South African rugby and this is proof of that.”  “We have worked very hard over the last couple of months to steady the ship and to ensure we remain the preferred team to many of the country’s best players. We had to re-invent ourselves in a way and owned up to the fact that this team belongs as much to the fans as to the union and the players in the squad. The fact that these players want to stay on to be part of this new drive to make our supporters proud, shows their commitment. They accepted the responsibility to achieve those goals and that makes us very proud and humbled. Exciting times await,” Janse van Rensburg said.

Janse van Rensburg also confirmed that current Absa Currie Cup squad members Andre Warner (Oct 2017), Dries Swanepoel (Oct 2017), Roelof Smit (Oct 2017) and Irne Herbst (Oct 2017) signed on for two more seasons.

“All of them have represented SouthAfrica already at various stages of their young careers and it is great to know that we will be able to call on their massive potential and abilities for the next couple of seasons.  These players hail from our junior structures and constitutes our new generation, we are excited about their futures here”

Four new players from outside the union were also recruited. Freddy Ngoza (Flanker, Free State), Entienne Swanepoel(Prop, WP), Lihleli Xoli (Utility Back, WP) and Le Roux Roets (Lock, GLRU) have signed contracts till October 2017.

“It is great to have these players around for the next couple of years. Someone like Le Roux Roets was schooled at Garsfontein and then snapped up by the Golden Lions, but we are very happy to see him back in blue.  Lihleli, Freddy and Entienne are all players wehave been following closely for the last couple of seasons and we are excited to see their careers hopefully excel in Pretoria” Janse van Rensburg said.