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Sharks 31, Bulls 16

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Jake is back, and he has a star-studded line-up to take on a Bulls team that everyone has written off before kick-off.

Kirchner joins Leinster

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Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner is to take up a contract with Irish side Leinster later this year.

Serfontein starts for Bulls

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Midfielder Jan Serfontein will make a first start in Vodacom Super Rugby when he takes the field for the Vodacom Bulls in their last overseas tour match against the Brumbies in Canberra.

The 20 year old has played off the bench twice in his debut season, but now gets a chance to stake a more permanent claim to the number 12 jersey.

Serfontein swops places with Francois Venter, who will revert to the bench, as Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made two more changes in the backline.

Jürgen Visser will start at left wing in place of Bjorn Basson, who has an ankle injury, while Mornè Steyn is back as pivot after Louis Fouchè got a start last week.

Up front, Grant Hattingh (broken thumb) is replaced by Juandrè Kruger, while Wilhelm Steenkamp, who flew to Australia earlier in the week as a replacement, will play off the bench.

Arno Botha, who was rested against the Reds last week, will be used as impact player ahead of Jacques Potgieter.

Deon Stegmann recovered from his hamstring strain to the leave the loose trio intact.

The team to play the Brumbies:

Zane Kirchner, Lionel Mapoe, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Jürgen Visser, Mornè Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies (c), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandrè Kruger, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Morne Mellett. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Frik Kirsten, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Arno Botha, Ruan Snyman, Louis Fouche, Francois Venter.

Bulls call reinforcements

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The Vodacom Bulls has called for two replacements for their last match of their Australasian tour against the Brumbies on Saturday.

Bulls suffer another injury blow

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The Vodacom Bulls suffered another injury setback on their Australasian tour with experienced flanker Deon Stegmann ruled out of their match against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

Shields spreading the love again (oh and the shit)

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The Spred and Spri awards

Ludeke makes 9 changes to Bulls

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Injuries and rotation played a major role in Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke’s call to name an almost new side for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Reds in Brisbane.

An unsatisfactory loss to the Crusaders last weekend also resulted in at least four players being ruled out of the remainder of the tour and only six players who started in Christchurch will do so again this weekend.

Fullback Zane Kirchner, outside centre JJ Engelbrecht, halfback Jano Vermaak, no 8 and captain Pierre Spies, flanker Deon Stegmann and loose head prop Mornè Mellett are all in the run-on side again.

The return to fitness of Lionel Mapoe and Bjorn Basson will see both try-scoring aces on the wing, whilst Francois Venter will replace injured Wynand Olivier at inside centre.

Flyhalf Louis Fouchè will also earn a first start in Super Rugby, but the strappy pivot will be playing in his 15th match at this level.

Record-breaking flyhalf and the most experienced player in the side, Mornè Steyn will play off the bench for the first time in a couple of seasons.

Up front, the fit-again Dewald Potgieter takes over from Arno Botha at seven, whilst a new lock combination in Grant Hattingh and Paul Willemse will start for the first time in their Vodacom Bulls careers. Both have started for the MTN Lions last year.

Regular starter Juandrè Kruger will play off the bench and Flip van der Merwe is injured.

Springbok front row players Chiliboy Ralepelle and Werner Kruger also returns to the starting team ahead of Willie Wepener and Frik Kirsten.

On the bench, Ruan Snyman replaces the injured Francois Hougaard. Snyman’s only start for the Bulls was in 2010.

The team (with Super Rugby caps) is: Zane Kirchner (75), Lionel Mapoe (31), JJ Engelbrecht (20), Francois Venter (9), Bjorn Basson (44), Louis Fouchè (14) , Jano Vermaak (92), Pierre Spies (93, c), Dewald Potgieter (55), Deon Stegmann (63), Grant Hattingh (13), Paul Willemse (1), Werner Kruger (79), Chiliboy Ralepelle (56), Mornè Mellett (4). REPLACEMENTS: Willie Wepener (57), Frik Kirsten (19), Juandrè Kruger (21), Jacques Potgieter (16), Ruan Snyman (1), Mornè Steyn (110), Jan Serfontein (2).

Milestones:

•Louis Fouchè, Grant Hattingh and Paul Willemse will all make their run-on debut for the Vodacom Bulls.

•Mornè Steyn could extend his point scoring record of 1269 points (12 tries, 216 conversions, 235 penalties, 24 drop goals) if he takes to the field.

SPRED the Love

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Resident contributor, Shields, cautions against the hype around our teams following this weekend’s results.

Crusaders change one for Bulls

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The Crusaders play their first home game of the season this Saturday night against a strong Bulls team who haven’t lost a game yet this season.

The Crusaders last met the Bulls in the 2012 qualifying rounds where the Crusaders came out the victors and secured a place in the semi-final with a 28-13win.

Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team with only one change to the team that played the Hurricanes last weekend.

Tom Taylor’s medial ligament injury has ruled him out of this week’s game allowing Tyler Bleyendaal to take his place on the bench.

It is 209 days since the Crusaders last played at home and the team is excited to be running out onto AMI Stadium (Addington) once again to play in front of a home crowd. Kick-off is at 7:35pm.

Crusaders team

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Bulls: Visser starts, Serfontein on the bench

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Utility back Jürgen Visser will start on the wing for the Vodacom Bulls in their Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Blues change 10 for Bulls

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The Blues have made 6 changes to their starting XV for their game against the Bulls.

Bulls ring the changes

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Clearly not happy with the performance of his players against the Force, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made several changes to his team to face the Blues this weekend.

Bulls tour squad announced

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The Vodacom Bulls named their touring squad to Australasia for matches against the Blues, Crusaders, Reds and Brumbies. All four opponents are previous winners of the Super Rugby title.

Chiliboy not guilty

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Chiliboy was found not guilty for charging into a ruck with no arms.

Steyn move to France confirmed

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The Blue Bulls Company and Mornè Steyn would like to confirm that the Vodacom Bulls flyhalf will be leaving Pretoria for Paris at the end of the 2013 rugby season.

Force change 4 for Bulls

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The Emirates Western Force has made four changes to its starting XV to tackle the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday night.

Serfontein on Bulls bench

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Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe will play in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match when his team takes on the Western Force at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Van der Merwe has played six of those for the Toyota Cheetahs whilst still a student in Bloemfontein and the commerce graduate has since reeled off 43 matches for the Bulls.

The lock will again combine with Juandrè Kruger in the engine room, but is behind them in the scrum where the most significant changes are to the team that beat the DHL Stormers last weekend.

Both Dewald Potgieter and Deon Stegmann picked up injuries in that win and will be replaced by Jacques Potgieter and Arno Botha respectively. Jean Cook comes into the reserves and will make his Super Rugby debut if he takes to the field.

In another change at the back, Lionel Mapoe moves from wing to outside centre in place of injured JJ Engelbrecht, with Akona Ndungane moving to the right wing berth for his 85th match in Bulls colours. Ndungane has been bracketed with Sampie Mastriet, with the latter to make his debut if Ndungane’s ankle injury flares up again.

Jan Serfontein has also been named on the bench, but has a hip strain and if ruled out, Francois Venter will again play in the number 22 shirt.

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was pleased to have experience to fall back on, but warned that it guarantees nothing against an opponent that has beaten the Bulls at Loftus before.

“Last week was last week. We are grateful for the win, but this week we face a new opponent that will post new challenges. The Western Force has been a difficult opponent in the past and will again ask questions to our all round game and our defence. We have prepared well though and will be looking forward to the challenge.”

Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies admitted that a good performance would be paramount for his side before they embark on their overseas leg of the competition.

“We cannot look past this match as it will determine the mind-set we will take onto tour. So this is a very important match for us,” Spies said.

The team to play the Western Force (with Super caps) is: Zane Kirchner (72), Akona Ndungane (84)/Sampie Mastriet (0), Lionel Mapoe (29), Wynand Olivier (104), Bjorn Basson (43), Mornè Steyn (107), Francois Hougaard (46), Pierre Spies (90, c), Arno Botha (11), Jacques Potgieter (13), Juandrè Kruger (18), Flip van der Merwe (49), Werner Kruger (76), Chiliboy Ralepelle (53), Mornè Mellett (1). Replacements: Willie Wepener (54), Frik Kirsten (16), Grant Hattingh (10), Jean Cook (0), Jano Vermaak (89), Louis Fouchè (10), Jan Serfontein (0)/Francois Venter (9).

Mapoe on wing for Bulls

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

Taute, Jantjies make Stormers debut, still no Schalk

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Allister Coetzee, the DHL Stormers head coach, has announced his team for Friday’s 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby opener against the Bulls in Pretoria (kick-off 19h10).

Force squad for SA Tour

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The Emirates Western Force have added four Wallabies to its 26-man squad for their two-match Super Rugby South African leg.

Serfontein commits to Bulls

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The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce that Jan Serfontein has extended his contract with the BBC and will remain a Vodacom Bulls player in the foreseeable future.

Spies back for Bulls

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Pierre Spies will lead an experienced Vodacom Bulls side for their second friendly match of the season when they face the Toyota Cheetahs in Polokwane on Saturday.

Lions announce team for Bulls game

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MTN Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced the following team to take on the Vodacom Bulls in the Gauteng Cup, taking place this Saturday at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Kick-off is at 15h00.

Bulls launch commemorative jersey to celebrate 75th anniversary

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PUMA has designed a “vintage” commemorative and limited edition jersey to mark the 75th Anniversary celebrations of South African rugby legends The Bulls.

Stegmann leads Bulls against Lions

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Vodacom Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann will lead the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday when they take on the MTN Lions in the Gauteng Rugby Cup at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Opening rounds crucial for SA’s favourites

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When it comes to picking the favourites to lead the South Africa conference the popular vote seems to be split between the Stormers and the Sharks.

Olivier might miss start of SR season

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The Bulls gets a taste of what the Stormers had to put up with following news that Wynand Olivier might miss the start of their Super Rugby campaign due to his Japanese club advancing in their domestic competition.

Juandre will leave for France after Super Rugby

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Vodacom Bulls lock Juandrè Kruger did not extend his contract with the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd beyond the the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season and will leave the Vodacom Bulls to join up with French club Racing Metro 92.

Matfield, Liefling appointed on Bulls coaching staff

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The Vodacom Bulls on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Victor Matfield as their new Forwards and Attack Coach for the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season, while also naming Derick Hougaard as a skills and kicking coach and Handrè Pollard as part of their extended playing squad for the new season.

Bulls confirm Mapoe, Visagie deals

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Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke welcomed the confirmation that Lionel Mapoe and Callie Visagie will be on loan to the Pretoria side for the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Spies stays with Bulls

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The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd is happy to announce that Pierre Spies has extended his contract till November 2015.

Bulls make Nienaber offer

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The Blue Bulls have set their sights firmly on former Springbok and current Stormers defensive coach Jacques Nienaber and have made a big offer to him to join their coaching ranks as from 2013.

Cheetahs confirm Sadie signing

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Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster has confirmed that they’ve signed Bulls centre Johan Sadie on a two year deal, according to EWN Sport.

Basson undergoes surgery

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Vodacom Bulls winger Bjorn Basson underwent surgery in New Zealand on Sunday after he sustained a tear to his intestines during his side’s 28-13 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Sadie quitting Bulls?

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It has been reported that Johann Sadie is set to leave the Bulls after only one season to join the Cheetahs.

Super Rugby Qualifiers preview

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The Vodacom Bulls and The Sharks face tough challenges in Australasia on Saturday in the Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifiers.

Fruean back for Crusaders

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Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has made two changes in the forwards and one in the backs for his team to play the Bulls in the 2012 Super Rugby qualifier match this Saturday.

Only one change for Bulls

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It will be a first quarter-final for all of them, but eleven players from the Vodacom Bulls match 22 have won the Super Rugby title before.

No Lambie, Alberts for Sharks

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The Sharks will go into their do-or-die clash against the Bulls this Friday without stars Pat Lambie and Willem Alberts.

Bulls unchanged for Sharks

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Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke named an unchanged side to face the Sharks on Friday and the same match 22 that outclassed the Toyota Cheetahs last weekend, will again have to deliver the goods in Durban.

Bulls confirm Pollard signature

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The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd would like to confirm that Junior Boks flyhalf Handrè Pollard will join the Vodacom Blue Bulls in 2012.

Potgieter boost for Bulls

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The Vodacom Bulls have been bolstered by the availability of flanker Jacques Potgieter for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.

Young props for Cheetahs

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The Cheetahs have named their side to face the Bulls this weekend which includes a number of youngsters included in starting XV

Trevor Nyaka and Marcel van der Merwe will pack down on the loose-head and tight-head side respectively for the boys from Bloem.

Bulls lose Stander

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The Blue Bulls Company has announced on Wednesday that Vodacom Bulls loose forward CJ Stander has decided against taking the option to extend his contract with the Blue Bulls Company.

Stormers team for Bulls

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Allister Coetzee today named the DHL Stormers team to take on the Bulls, at Loftus, on Saturday 2 June at 19h10.

Chiefs announce team for Bulls

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The Chiefs, who are currently top of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference, have announced their team to play the Bulls this Friday at Waikato Stadium.

Bulls make one change

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Vodacom Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp will start at lock in his side’s final Super Rugby tour match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

Landers make 4 changes for Bulls

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Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named his team to play the Bulls at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tomorrow.

Greyling, Potgieter & Olivier back for Bulls

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The Vodacom Bulls recalled experienced midfielder Wynand Olivier, loose forward Dewald Potgieter and prop Dean Greyling for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Bulls lose Stegmann

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Vodacom Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann broke his arm in his side’s 27-24 win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday and will return to South Africa. He will be out of action for six weeks.