Vodacom Bulls head coach, John Mitchell, on Monday named 38 players as well the leadership for the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season. The coach named midfielder, Burger Odendaal and loose forward, Nic de Jager, as co-captains.
The squad is made up out of 21 forwards and 17 backs, with 11 of those being Springboks and furthermore includes a host of Junior Springboks. Springbok Sevens forward Tim Agaba has also been included and will join the squad after the Blitzboks return from tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton.
Only a handful of players do not have any Vodacom Super Rugby experience, among those outside back Divan Rossouw, midfielder JT Jackson, flyhalf Manie Libbok, scrumhalf Embrose Papier and lock Aston Fortuin.
The Vodacom Bulls will be involved in two warm-up matches this weekend as they take on the Cell C Sharks in Polokwane on Saturday at 18h00, and the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg earlier at 15h00.
“We have made tremendous progress with our processes over the last couple of months and we will be ready for whatever comes our way during Super Rugby 2018,” said Mitchell
“I don’t want to make any promises on how the team will perform this year, we will be solely focussed on the process.
It’s about marginal gains for us, stacking good stuff on good stuff daily as we continue to ensure excellence. It’s not about the end but rather the daily effort combined at the end. Our purpose is to fill Loftus and put smiles on people’s faces. We will be working very hard to achieve that.”
“I am confident that we have worked smartly and laid a solid foundation. This squad will develop and improve and one needs to be realistic about it, but we are all in agreement about the way forward.
We will be connected, we want to be respected and not just liked and therefore one of our main focus areas during this process will be to remain honest and never forget to enjoy it and have fun.
We want to serve our fans, supporters, shareholders and sponsors – we want to earn back their respect and get the Vodacom Bulls to bind us together as one.”
The Bullls also confirmed that we have parted ways with loose forward Jacques Potgieter after lengthy discussions on his future.
Potgieter has decided not to partake in Vodacom Super Rugby during 2018, and rather take a sabbatical to focus on his family and spend time with his wife, boy and soon to be born twins.
We would like to sincerely thank him for his contributions to the team both on and off the field, and wish him well with his future endeavours.
He will make an announcement later in the year regarding his future.
The Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby squad is:
Outside Backs: Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Travis Ismaiel, Jamba Ulengo, Jade Stighling, Divan Rossouw.
Midfielders: Burger Odendaal, JT Jackson, Francois Brummer, Jesse Kriel, Johnny Kotze
Flyhalves: Handre Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok
Halfbacks: Ivan van Zyl, Andre Warner, Embrose Papier
Loose Forwards: Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Hendre Stassen, Hanro Liebenberg, Jannes Kirsten, Nic de Jager, Tim Agaba.
Locks: Jason Jenkins, Ruben van Heerden, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Aston Fortuin.
Props: Pierre Schoeman, Conraad van Vuuren, Frans van Wyk, Matthys Basson, Lizo Gqoboka, Trevor Nyakane.
Hookers: Jaco Visagie, Adriaan Strauss, Edgar Marutlulle