The Vodacom Bulls travel to hot and humid Singapore to face a defiant Sunwolves outfit at the National Stadium. There is still a mathematical chance that the men from Pretoria can make the knockout stages of the competition with Handrè Pollard and his charges ready to do what needs to be done in Asia to ensure that they put themselves in contention to secure valuable log points against the Sunwolves.

The Sunwolves will have their tails up as they prepare for their match against the Vodacom Bulls after winning their last fixture against their South African counterparts. However, in total, the Sunwolves have lost three of the four matches that have been contested between the two teams.

Pollard to lead Vodacom Bulls against Sunwolves in Singapore

The Vodacom Bulls will travel to the Singapore National Stadium for their Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Sunwolves with a number of new faces as well as a new captain in flyhalf Handre Pollard this weekend.


The playmaker takes over from regular captain, Burger Odendaal, who was not considered due to injury, in a side that welcomes back a number of players who saw little action this year. Jamba Ulengo is back at wing, Hanro Liebenberg at no8 and Jannes Kirsten makes a first appearance this season on the side of the scrum.


Ulengo and Kirsten have not played at all in this year’s tournament and Liebenberg’s last action was on 14 April against the Cell C Sharks.


The midfield combination, where Johnny Kotze will partner Jesse Kriel in Odendaal’s absence, is new as well, while Pollard will have Embrose Papier on his inside. Papier last started on 23 March against the Crusaders.


Edgar Marutlulle, Simpiwe Matanzima and Morne Smith will all make first appearances for the season as well, with the latter two also debuting in the competition and Vodacom Bulls colours.


“It is great to be back playing in the tournament again. We had a good break, but also had some time together to sort out elements in our play that lacked consistency,” feels Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell.


“The Sunwolves are always dangerous, especially on home turf and we will have to be very principled in our approach and execution if we want to stay in the contest,” Mitchell said.


Pollard said they need to find their momentum and rhythm as soon as possible. “We have not played together as a team for a while, but that should not be a problem for us. We know each other pretty well by now and even the guys coming back after injury have played in the tournament before. It will be a challenge, as the Sunwolves have shown their competitiveness in the competition, but ultimately the onus will be on us and how badly we want the win. There is still an outside chance, so we cannot afford any mistakes.”

Kick-off is at 13h35 SA time.


The Vodacom Bulls team to face the Sunwolves (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (31, 60), Jamba Ulengo (20, 35), Jesse Kriel (58, 55), Johnny Kotze (32, 35), Divan Rossouw (11, 15), Handre Pollard (c; 44, 402), Embrose Papier (6, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (25, 15), Jannes Kirsten 915, 10), Marco van Staden (13, 5), RG Snyman (36, 10), Jason Jenkins (39, 35), Conraad van Vuuren (14, 0), Jaco Visagie (33, 5), Pierre Schoeman (32, 15).


Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle (30, 20), Simphiwe Matanzima, Morne Smith (0, 0), Thembelani Bholi (27, 5), Nic de Jager (26, 20), Andre Warner (12, 15), Manie Libbok (8, 6), Dries Swanepoel (9, 10),


Non-playing replacements: Adriaan Strauss (156, 95), Lian du Toit (0, 0).


The Blue Bulls Company would like to confirm that the contract of CEO Barend van Graan will be coming to an end at the end of January 2019.

Van Graan, an absolute asset to the brand, was requested by the board to stay on even after he had reached retirement age in 2015. He was then appointed on a four-year contract, taking his overall tenure with the brand up to 35 years.

President of the BBRU Willem Strauss heaped praise on what Van Graan had achieved with the brand: “Barend is not only the leader of the Blue Bulls Company but also a mentor to his management, staff and players. He has embedded a proud culture and heritage, and there is no doubt that his legacy will still inspire us as we move forward.”

“Even though it will be sad to see him go, we respect his decision to step back and allow new blood to come in and take over the reins. We would like to sincerely wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

More details regarding the process for filling his role will be made in due course. Van Graan will however play a role in the handover process and in making sure his replacement is well settled.

The Blue Bulls Company will do a more fitting tribute closer to the time of his departure.


Vodacom Bulletjie Day is an occasion that has cemented itself on the Pretoria rugby calendar with young rugby players from all corners of the Blue Bulls catchment area coming together to enjoy a fun day out with the family.


This year’s instalment was particularly special as Vodacom Bulletjie Day celebrated 25 years with just over 6000 young and enthusiastic rugby players descending on Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 2 June.


Marguerite Prinsloo, Blue Bulls Company: Events Co-Ordinator, explained how the day really encapsulates the family atmosphere of rugby.


“Vodacom Bulletjie Rugby is all about fun, family and entertainment and what better place to have this wonderful event, sponsored by Vodacom, than here at Loftus Versfeld, home of the Vodacom Bulls.”


Johan Schoeman, Founder of Vodacom Bulletjie Rugby, noted that Vodacom Bulletjie Day is a great opportunity for young players at the world’s largest mini-rugby day.


“We all know that this Vodacom Bulletjie Day is definitely the largest mini-rugby day in the world. There was approximately 22000 parents coming through the day from 08:00 until 17:00 and the end result you can see. What a wonderful opportunity.”


Steven Mabogwane, Bulletjie Rugby Coach, thanked Vodacom for their efforts in making Vodacom Bulletjie Day a success.


“As a father, as a coach, we are very happy to be here and we would like to thank Vodacom for putting smiles on our kids’ faces and for sponsoring this event. We can’t wait to come back next year.”