Pote Human to lead Currie Cup charge

The Vodacom Blue Bulls today confirmed that Pote Human will assume the role of head coach during the 2018 Currie Cup season. While Executive Rugby and Vodacom Super Rugby head coach, John Mitchell, focuses on his other roles, including spending more time at the junior ranks ensuring that the ‘blue print’ functions throughout the club, while also preparing for the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby Season.


The 59-year-old, Human, is a rugby man to the core and boasts a proud playing record as a ‘no-nonsense’ eightman, having played at Craven week and for the SA schools team, before going on to represent Eastern Province in 116 matches and the Free State in 84 (captaining 62 of those). Human, was also a legend at club level, winning two National club titles with Dispatch in the Eastern Cape.


He is no stranger to coaching at this level, as he held the reigns in 2006 when captain Gary Botha and his men famously drew with the Cheetahs at Loftus to share the Currie Cup. His highlight however, is assisting Heyneke Meyer in 2007, as the forwards coach, to steer the Vodacom Bulls to their first Super Rugby title. In 2011, he excepted a three-year deal in Kimberley where he once again took the role of head coach, leading a spirited Griquas team into the competition. Human’s CV also shows a stint in Japan, and a few successful seasons at Tuks, with two prestigious Varsity Cup titles as well, among a string of other accolades.


Human humbly took the focus of himself: “I’m really proud to be part of this system, with every day being a learning experience for me and all those involved. There is a new energy at Loftus, and even though the results may not show it yet, I believe that there is something very special brewing here. We have a young and exciting group going into the season, and I look forward to growing with these players.”


The remaining management team for the Currie Cup season will mostly remain as it did for the Super Rugby competition, with the most noticeable change being that technical analysist, John-Williams Meyer, will now also be responsible for the defense.


Team management:

HEAD COACH: Pote Human

ASSISTANT COACHES: Gary Botha, Hayden Groepes


DOCTOR: Dr. Herman Rossouw



PHYSIOTHERAPISTS: Pieter du Plessis & Lance Lemmetjies

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING: Jacus Coetzee, Ghafoer Luckan

REHAB SPECIALIST:  Juandre Williams

HIGH PERFORMANCE MANAGER: Xander Janse van Rensburg

MEDIA MANAGER: Shanil Mangaroo


The Vodacom Bulls did the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks a massive favour by stopping the Jaguares’ seven-game winning streak run with a 43-34 victory in their Vodacom Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Bulls came from 19-0 down after 20 minutes to storm back and outscore their opposition by six tries to five in a high-scoring extravaganza on a cold Pretoria afternoon.

The win was a massive favour for the Lions, who stay on the top of the South African conference with just one round left in the competition, with the Jaguares blowing their chance of going top with a victory.

It also opened the door for the Sharks, who will be automatically through if the Melbourne Rebels lose next weekend, while they simply have to win the showdown with the Jaguares if they are to secure their spot in the playoff rounds.

The Jaguares’ seven-game winning streak was snapped by the Bulls and showed that while the team have grown exceptionally under coach Mario Ledesma, they still need to win away from home — and cchieving that in the playoff rounds will be extremely difficult.

For the Bulls the way they came back after their horror start should be commended. The likes of Warrick Gelant, Handre Pollard, RG Snyman, Jesse Kriel and Marco van Staden all stood out on the evening.

With the Loftus turf a lighter shade of green more reminiscent to rugby in the 80s, it was the Bulls who were shell-shocked early when the bright contrast of the Jaguares orange jerseys seemed to dominate every part of the early play, leaving them 19-0 up as they scored three quick tries without reply.

It was almost too easy as the Bulls’ defence disintegrated early on with Nicolas Sanchez dancing his way past Ruben van Heerden and then two others to score a perfect individual try to open the scoring in the third minute.

Javier Ortega Desio broke through three minutes later and put his captain Pablo Matera away to score a quick second try and then Gonzalo Bertranou scored his first try before 20 minutes was on the clock to leave the small Loftus crowd bemused at what had happened to their team.

But if there is one thing about this Bulls team, they don’t give up.


And it may have taken them a while to get the engine started, but when they did they roared back in style.

Warrick Gelant showed his class with a stunning right-hand break to send Jamba Ulengo roaring down the touchline, with the winger offering the ball to Johnny Kotze to get them on the board.

Their second try was even better as Gelant broke blind and some beautiful offloads from Hanro Liebenberg and Marco van Staden sent Embrose Papier over for a well-worked try.

And then unbelievably Jesse Kriel’s exceptional vision stole him a perfect intercept after the halftime hooter had gone to score under the posts, and suddenly the Bulls were ahead 21-19 at the break.

The Jaguares must have been kicking themselves as Pollard put the Bulls further ahead early in the second half with a penalty, but they hit back hard with Bertranou’s second try, created by a stunning break by the classy Emiliano Boffelli, who scythed his way through the defence to open the space for the try.

The Jaguares may have stolen the lead, but the Bulls pack were slowly getting the upper hand, and the rest of the team grew in confidence.

And it was Pollard who saw some extra space to take the outside break on attack and send the simplest of passes out wide for Ulengo to canter in for the try.

But the moment that gave the Bulls some breathing space came in the 60th minute when Marco van Staden collected the ball at the back of the lineout, shook off replacement scrumhalf Martin Landajo like a rag doll and busted his way upfield for a crucial score.

Television replays were scrutinised to the finest detail, but no fault could have been found as the Bulls for the first time looked a lot more comfortable than their opposition.

Ulengo, who earlier this season received miracle treatment from a clinic in Sweden to get him back on the field, cantered in for his second try to secure the win, and leave the Jaguares gasping for air.

Pablo Matera scored a late try for a possible chance at securing a crucial bonus point, but Boffelli’s conversion hit the posts, denying them even that.

It may not have been pretty, but the Bulls gave their fans something to be happy about after their poor performance in Singapore a week earlier.

And they did the Sharks and Lions a massive favour in the process.


Vodacom Bulls – tries: Johnny Kotze, Embrose Papier, Jesse Kriel, Jamba Ulengo (2), Marco van Staden. Conversions: Handre Pollard (5). Penalty: Pollard.

Jaguares – tries: Nicolas Sanchez, Pablo Matera (2), Gonzalo Bertranou (2). Conversions: Sanchez (3). Penalty: Emiliano Boffelli.

Report by Brenden Nel, SuperSport.com


Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell named an unchanged run-on team to face the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday in what will be the last home match for his team in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

The same starting side that lost to a late score against the Sunwolves in Singapore last weekend will thus get a chance to redeem themselves.

Mitchell made some changes to the bench though, with the most prominent the inclusion of Springbok scrumhalf, Ivan van Zyl, in place of Andre Warner.

“We are determined to close out the season at home with a solid performance,” Mitchell said.

“We have grown as a team and our supporters started believing again, and we would like to reward that trust in us. In the end, the season did not quite finish the way we wanted, but I am happy that we took some important steps in the right direction. We will reap the benefits of that in future.”

The team will again be captained by Handré Pollard. “We only need to look at the log to see how tough the Jaguares will be. They are playing some exceptional rugby at the moment. That said, they are coming into our backyard and we need to show who is boss in our house. We owe the Loftus faithful a good show.”

The team (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is:

Warrick Gelant (32, 60), Jamba Ulengo (21, 35), Jesse Kriel (59, 65), Johnny Kotze (33, 35), Divan Rossouw (12, 15), Handré Pollard (c; 45, 424), Embrose Papier (7, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (26, 15), Jannes Kirsten (16,10), Marco van Staden (14, 5), RG Snyman (37, 10), Jason Jenkins (40, 35), Conraad van Vuuren (15, 5), Jaco Visagie (33, 0) Pierre Schoeman (33, 15). Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle (31, 20), Simphiwe Matanzima (0, 0)/Matthys Basson (1, 0), Mornay Smit (1, 0), Thembelani Bholi (28, 5), Nick de Jager (27,20), Ivan van Zyl (15, 0),  Manie Libbok (8, 6), Dries Swanepoel (10, 10).