Vermeulen back for Vodacom Bulls as Nyakane hits 100

Trevor Nyakane will play in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match on Saturday when the Vodacom Bulls take on the DHL Stormers in Cape Town in a match that will also see the return to action of Duane Vermeulen.

Nyakane, who played 42 times for the Toyota Cheetahs before moving to Pretoria and Vermeulen, who was rested against the Reds two weeks ago, will be the only centurions in the team to take on the home side at DHL Newlands. Nyakane will be the fifth South African prop to become a Vodacom Super Rugby centurion.

Midfielder Burger Odendaal will also achieve a milestone and will be running out for his 50th game for the Vodacom Bulls.

Vodacom Bulls Head Coach, Pote Human, welcomed back Vermeulen after his rest protocols and he slots back into the number 8 jersey, with Paul Schoeman, who started against the Reds, dropping to the bench in place of Roelof Smit. The only other change is on the bench as well, where Johan Grobbelaar replaces Corniel Els as back-up hooker.

Human said he hopes the squad can retain some consistency, following a bye weekend.

“The last time we had a bye, the result was not a good one, so we are pretty mindful of that. I don’t think complacency will be a factor, at least the guys did not show any in training. It has to do with the fact that we are travelling down to Cape Town. A clash with the home side down there is always a massive one for us.”

Human congratulated Nyakane on his achievement. “This shows his consistency. He plays at a high level week-in and week-out and this is well deserved,” said Human.

For Handré Pollard, who again takes the captaincy, the trip is important for more than one reason.

“We have been up and down and need to show that we can keep the momentum from last time out. The Stormers are coming off a defeat at home, so will be very keen to bounce back. They outplayed us last time we went down there and the guys are keen to rectify that result. Most importantly though is to show the effort is worth the hard work we put in. We have been our worst enemies at times this season.”

The match starts at 15h05.

The team (with Super caps and points) is:

  1. Warrick Gelant (39, 65)
  2. Johnny Kotze (38, 45)
  3. Jesse Kriel (68, 95)
  4. Burger Odendaal (49, 20)
  5. Jade Stighling (4, 10)
  6. Handré Pollard (53, 547)
  7. Ivan van Zyl (25, 0)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (116, 45)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (36, 20)
  10. Marco van Staden (17, 15)
  11. RG Snyman (40, 10)
  12. Jannes Kirsten (24, 10)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (99, 15)
  14. Jaco Visagie (38, 5)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (45, 15)


  1. Johan Grobbelaar (1, 0)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (8, 0)
  3. Wiehan Herbst (41, 0)
  4. Thembelani Bholi (35, 5)
  5. Paul Schoeman (26, 35)
  6. Embrose Papier (18, 5)
  7. Manie Libbok (11, 28)
  8. Divan Rossouw (18, 15)

Access to finance, training and entrepreneurship critical to building SA’s black farming community

Centurion, 15 April 2019 – This is according to AFGRI’s recently-renamed Lemang Agricultural Services, created specifically to train, develop and mentor new era farmers, and focused on the further development of commercial black farmers in South Africa, particularly large farmers ready to take the final steps towards becoming full-scale commercial farmers. This includes offering financial assistance, thus helping them to flourish in a sustainable manner.

“With food security becoming an increasing concern for South Africa and the rest of the continent, it’s important that agribusinesses such as AFGRI get behind our farmers, particularly black farmers wanting to take the next step into full commercialisation. And with agriculture being the key driver of food security, AFGRI is fully supportive of bringing a new generation of successful farmers into production to ensure the sector continues to thrive,” says Marion Shikwinya, who heads up Lemang Agricultural Services.

“We are very excited about the opportunities that agriculture offers, but there is a need to recognise the constraints that many new era farmers face. The first of these is the lack of access to affordable credit. Many are not able to access credit facilities to finance their operations, including state-of-the-art equipment and other new technologies required to increase production, and produce high-quality crops or livestock.”

Shikwinya adds that AFGRI – a leading agricultural services company with core competencies to enhance, support and guide the growth of agricultural enterprises – has a wide range of financial services that they are looking at adapting to support new era farmers.

Lemang itself has an enviable track record of success in assisting new era farmers, having trained and supported over 650 farmers in the past four years (in its previous capacity as Harvest Time Investments), resulting in over 18,400 hectares being planted, some 660 permanent jobs being created, and a total yield of 49,873 tonnes. On average, farm income has tripled in cases where Lemang has supported the farmer.

According to Operations Manager, Bankies Malan, the team can bring this track record to bear on assisting farmers overcome another stumbling block, which is the lack of access to information and training.

“Training – and access to the right information – is vital for farmers to succeed. Agribusinesses such as ours have huge role to play in ensuring our farmers are not only trained in the latest farming techniques but are also mentored and given relevant business skills. Knowing how to run a business is integral to growing a successful farming enterprise.”

Malan says that while many systems put in place to help black farmers have failed due to a lack of funding or skills, particularly in rural areas, farmers should also think more innovatively, and not simply wait for assistance.

An easy solution he believes could work is for smaller new era farmers in rural areas to form “study groups”, allowing them to learn from external experts, who could be invited to attend the sessions, and from one another, a major source of knowledge-sharing, at the same time.

However, critical to this kind of out-the-box thinking is a true desire to succeed as a farmer. “It takes real entrepreneurial spirit to set up this kind of initiative, but the benefits are huge, with farmers being able to tap into relevant knowledge when they need it, which will in turn inspire a spirit of independency and drive sustainable success.”

In fact, says Malan, entrepreneurial drive and a true passion for farming are foremost on the list of criteria for qualifying for the Lemang New Era Farmer Development Programme.

He adds that communication also has a role to play connecting farmers with one another and to support systems. “Modern mobile technology makes it so much easier to get farmers around the table to learn from one another and from others. In fact, it’s essential that we all capitalise on this technology, and explore better ways of connecting as a farming community.”

Malan believes that if such ecosystems are established and are fully connected – to each farmer in a specific area through the study groups, as well as to other groups around the country using affordable and readily-available mobile technology – this scenario could give rise to mega farming communities across South Africa.

“Imagine the power this will give new era farmers. With access to the right information when they need it, as well as access to training, mentoring and funding through companies like ours, they could be easily be fully integrated into the agricultural value chain.”

Until such time, though, Shikwinya and the team at Lemang Agricultural Services, are hard at work, spreading the word about their offerings and hoping to reach as many new era farmers as possible.



Loftus to turn green in support of SANParks

Loftus to turn green in support of SANParks

The Vodacom Bulls have teamed up with South African National Parks (SANParks) and Wild Card to create awareness about the extraordinary effort that SANParks rangers put in on a daily basis, as they protect our beautiful national parks around South Africa.  These unsung heroes will beng honoured at our next home Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Reds on Saturday, 13 April 2019.


The men from Pretoria will play in their green away strip, a design by our apparel sponsor PUMA that pays tribute to SANParks, and in so doing, will further drive home their commitment to what SANParks does as guardians of our heritage.


SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni says that support from one of the biggest sports teams in South Africa will go a long way in creating awareness for conservation and our men and women in green. “One of the biggest challenges to conservation in the 21st Century is wildlife crime and without the help of all people we will not halt the attack on our natural heritage. We are thankful to the Vodacom Bulls for joining the conservation effort to help conserve our natural heritage for future generations.”


Several SANParks rangers, or as we at Loftus Versfeld like to call them: superheroes, will be in attendance at the game and will also walk a lap of honour.


Vodacom Bulls captain, Handrè Pollard, stated, “This cause is close to the player’s hearts and that they will rise to occasion to honour our rangers who put their lives on the line to protect our heritage.”


“There is nothing better for South Africans to experience than to spend time at one of our many national parks and our enjoyment of this would not be possible without the excellent work that SANParks does.”


“We love playing in front of our supporters in the hallowed Vodacom Bulls jersey and we will have the privilege of facing the Reds with some of SANParks rangers in attendance which serves as extra motivation to play our best game.”


There will be activities for our loyal supporters to enjoy on the day and those that do attend are urged to wear their green Vodacom Bulls jersey, something green.


SANParks would not be able to do what they do without the generosity of the public with donations being able to be made on their website,, or by sending an SMS to 40401 at a cost of R20.

For Media Enquiries:
Ms Janine Raftopoulos
Head of Corporate Communications
South African National Parks (SANParks)
Tel: +27 (0)12 426 5170
Cell: +27(0)71 444 3121


Mr Shanil Mangaroo

Media & Communications

Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 0829
 +27 (0) 82 856 9548




Six Springboks back for Vodacom Bulls to face Reds

Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, named Springboks Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Marco van Staden and RG Snyman in his starting team to play the Reds at Loftus Versfeld and made wholesale changes to the side that dropped a close result against the Jaguares last weekend.

Gelant returns from injury and takes over from Divan Rossouw at fullback, with the latter dropping to the bench, while Kriel and Pollard return after sitting out due to World Cup protocols. They replace Dylan Sage and Manie Libbok, with the flyhalf moving back to the bench.

Van Staden and Snyman are back in the team for the first time in this season’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition, having missed the opening part due to injury. They replace Ruan Steenkamp and Eli Snyman, who both picked up injuries against the Jaguares.

Human rotated Van Zyl and Papier again, with Van Zyl starting for the third time this season. Duane Vermeulen is rested due to Bok protocols, allowing Paul ‘Tier’ Schoeman a first start this season at no 8.
Hanro Liebenberg swops places with Jannes Kirsten, with the latter moving to lock, while a fit-again Jaco Visagie will start at hooker. Corniel Els reverts to the bench.

On the bench, Roelof Smit makes a first appearance for the season having recovered from injury, while there is also a potential first appearance for prop Wiehan Herbst.

The front rower played for the Cell C Sharks earlier in his career, before moving to Ulster, from where he joined the Vodacom Bulls. He played the last of his 40 VSR matches in 2014.

The team (with VSR caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (38, 65), Johnny Kotze (37, 45), Jesse Kriel (67, 95), Burger Odendaal (47, 20), Jade Stighling (3, 5), Handré Pollard (c; 52, 535), Ivan van Zyl (24, 0), Paul Schoeman (25, 35), Hanro Liebenberg (35, 15), Marco van Staden (16, 10), RG Snyman (39, 10), Jannes Kirsten (23, 10), Trevor Nyakane (98, 15), Jaco Visagie (37, 5), Lizo Gqoboka (44, 10).


Replacements: Corniel Els (7, 0), Simphiwe Matanzima (7, 0), Wiehan Herbst (40, 0), Thembelani Bholi, (34, 5) Roelof Smit (25, 15), Embrose Papier (17, 5), Manie Libbok (11, 28), Divan Rossouw (17, 15).

AFGRI Group Holdings and an investor consortium create a strategic commodity/grain storage platform to support growth and strengthen food security

Centurion, 8 April 2019 – AFGRI Group Holdings (“AGH”), the investment holding company with interests in food, agriculture and financial services related companies providing products and services to ensure sustainable agriculture and food security (collectively, the “AFGRI Group”), today announced the creation of a strategic grain storage platform vehicle in collaboration with a consortium of leading South African institutional investors to enable the growth of grain storage capacity in South Africa and on the continent and to strengthen food security in the region.

As background to the transaction, Chris Venter, the CEO of AGH, explains that in 2011 the AFGRI Group sold its debtors’ book to the Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa (“Land Bank”) with a clear vision of gaining access to a stronger balance sheet and the ability to expand its lending capabilities to offer a broader base of financial support to farmers.

“Since then the AFGRI Group has substantially increased its debtors’ book, growing it more than fivefold in value from 2011. The number of loans to farmers has also increased considerably from 1,290 to 8,620 farmers. The Group has expanded its financial service offerings across all nine provinces, financing not only grain production but various other commodities. Through the recent acquisition of the South African Bank of Athens, we are today able to offer a wide range of additional banking products to farmers.”

Venter said that using a similar approach, the AFGRI Group is now pleased to announce the creation of a strategic storage platform vehicle, AFGRI Grain Silo Company Proprietary Limited (“AFGRI Grain Silo Company”) – which has the clear objective of expanding its current storage capacity of some 4,7 million tons to six million tons in the near future. “This will allow us to not only cater for grain storage, but to expand into the storage of other types of commodities,” says Venter.

Three new institutional investors have committed to invest alongside the Group and its current BEE employee partner, Izitsalo Employee Investments, in the platform and through this, to support AFGRI’s strategy for growth and food security. The three institutional investment partners are STANLIB Infrastructure Investments, Wiphold, and the Land Bank. This investment consortium will initially own storage facilities with a total value of R3,6 billion at inception.

Venter continued, “AFGRI Operations Proprietary Limited (“AFGRI Operations”) will manage the storage facilities on behalf of AFGRI Grain Silo Company in terms of an evergreen management agreement. This arrangement provides the strategic benefit of AFGRI’s excellent track record in managing storage operations, and deep experience of the sector.”

AFGRI Operations will continue to be a JSE Approved Storage Operator for all the grain silos, while the grain silos will continue to be JSE Approved Silos and JSE registered delivery points.

This transaction will assist AFGRI to achieve four strategic objectives, namely: (i) the creation of a strategic storage platform with a focus on expanding across Africa; (ii) partnering with reputable South African institutional investors; (iii) unlocking the value of AFGRI’s grain storage assets, the proceeds from which will be used to further expand AFGRI’s financial services reach and support for farmers; and (iv) entrenching AFGRI’s reputation as the foremost long-term services provider to farmers and the agricultural industry. The Group’s current 4,7 million tonne storage footprint consists of grain silos and bunker complexes throughout six provinces in South Africa.

“High-quality commodity storage and related services is in demand by our customers, and through the consortium, we aim to ensure that we enter new areas across South Africa and simultaneously grow capacity,” said Jacob de Villiers, MD of AFGRI Grain Management.

“For clients making use of our silo and bunker facilities, it is business as usual,” de Villiers indicated. Farmers and grain silo users will continue to experience AFGRI Grain Management’s proven expertise and track record on an ongoing and uninterrupted basis.”

The effective date of the transaction is 31 March 2019 and all suspensive conditions to the transaction have been fulfilled.




#BULVJAG Match Preview: Vermeulen Handed Captaincy For Loftus Clash Against Jaguares

Vodacom Bulls coach Pote Human made several tweaks to his line-up for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby encounter against the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld, where the kick-off is 15h05.


Manie Libbok takes over the flyhalf duties from Handre Pollard, Johnny Kotze starts at right wing while the resting of Springbok centre Jesse Kriel allows Dylan Sage to take the No 13 jersey. Jade Stighling also gets a chance at left wing in rotation with Rosko Specman.


Up front, Jannes Kirsten will start in the No 7 jersey and Hanro Liebenberg moves to lock. Corniel Els replaces the suspended Schalk Brits at hooker while experienced Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen takes over the captaincy from Pollard, who is rested.


What they said:


Vodacom Bulls skipper Duane Vermeulen said: “We were way under-par when we last played them so we owe ourselves a proper performance against the Jaguares. The South African Conference is so tight that we cannot afford another slip-up at home.”




Vodacom Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hanro Liebenberg 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.


Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Cornal Hendricks.


Jaguares: TBA


Head to head:

Played: 5

Vodacom Bulls won: 2

Jaguares won: 3

Vodacom Bulls points: 116

Jaguares points: 157

Average score: 23-31


Match information:

Date: Saturday, 6 April

SA time: 15h05

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Brendon Pickerill

Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Mike Fraser

Television Match Official: Willie Vos

TV: SuperSport1




Corniel Els will make his first run-on appearance for the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday, when the home side takes on the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld at 15h05.

The hooker, who played all six Vodacom Super Rugby matches for the Vodacom Bulls off the bench, will replace Schalk Brits, who misses out due to suspension.

The 25-year old former Junior Springbok is one of seven changes to the starting team named by Head Coach, Pote Human, for the clash against the South Americans.

Handré Pollard and Jesse Kriel will be rested due to World Cup protocols and will be replaced by Manie Libbok and Dylan Sage respectively, with Duane Vermeulen taking over the captaincy.

Jade Stighling will also play in the starting team for the first time this year, taking over from Rosko Specman, with Johnny Kotze on the other wing and Cornal Hendricks dropping to the bench.

In a positional change, Hanro Liebenberg moves back to lock in place of Jason Jenkins, who has a niggle and was ruled out on Wednesday.

Jannes Kirsten will start at flank and his place on the bench will be taken by Thembelani Bholi.

There are more changes to the bench as well, where Jaco Visagie is due to make a first appearance in the tournament this season. Visagie is fit again following injury and will be keen to have a go. JT Jackson will cover as flyhalf and comes onto the bench.

Human said the squad prepared well and is keen to continue their winning momentum against a dangerous opponent.

“The Jaguares are very, very competitive and have shown that they can win away from home. We will be looking for some consistency in performance and we need to play better when at home, as we have some of the best home support in the competition. We have rested some players, but the new guys are all very keen to make a contribution and I expect a massive effort from all of them.”

For new Vodacom Bulls captain, Duane Vermeulen, the challenge will be as much coming from the opponents as themselves.

“We were way under par when we last played them so we owe ourselves a proper performance against the Jaguares. It is nothing personal, but we would love to get one over them this time. The South African conference is so tight, we cannot afford another slip-up at home.”

The team (with Super Rugby caps and points) is:
Divan Rossouw (16, 15), Johnny Kotze (36, 45), Dylan Sage (5, 0), Burger Odendaal (47, 20), Jade Stighling (2, 0), Manie Libbok (10, 13), Embrose Papier (16, 5), Duane Vermeulen (c; 115, 45), Jannes Kirsten (22, 10), Ruan Steenkamp (16, 0), Eli Snyman (5, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (34, 15), Trevor Nyakane (97, 15), Corniel Els (6, 0), Lizo Gqoboka (43, 10).


Replacements: Jaco Visagie (36, 5), Simphiwe Matanzima (6, 0), Conraad van Vuuren (18, 5), Thembelani Bholi (33, 5), Tim Agaba (4, 0), Ivan van Zyl (23, 0), JT Jackson (1, 0), Cornal Hendricks (32, 55).

More #Humanfactor Confirmed

The Blue Bulls Company are excited to confirm that Vodacom Super Rugby head coach Pote Human has extended his contract for another year, with an option to renew.


Human took the reins early this year after the resignation of John Michell late last year and has lead the Vodacom Bulls to four impressive victories from a total of six games in this year’s competition thus far.


Human, as always, is excited and keen to get on with the job: “It’s a massive honor to be entrusted with this role, especially knowing that I have the backing of the people around me. It’s been a good start thus far, and I firmly believe that we are heading in the right direction as a team. However, there is a long season ahead with lots of work to be done, and I am excited to get on with things. I’d also like to sincerely thank the BBCo for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.”


The BBCo are also pleased to confirm the signing of Ulster prop Wiehahn Herbst, welcoming the big prop to Loftus on Monday 1 April. The 31-year-old Klerksdorp High front row also played for the Sharks in Durban, racking up 40 Vodacom Super Rugby caps between 2009 and 2014. He then moved to Ulster where he spent the following six years.



Pollard Kicks Vodacom Bulls To Dramatic Win In Durban

The men from Pretoria led 6-3 at halftime in this seventh round Vodacom Super Rugby fixture.


Pollard’s crucial penalty was the difference between the two South African teams as the Vodacom Bulls completed a double of derby wins over their coastal rivals following their success earlier in the month at Loftus Versfeld.


Dan du Preez and Andre Esterhuizen were the try scorers for the home team while Jesse Kriel dotted down under the posts for the team in the blue jerseys following a solid set-piece movement.


With this victory the Vodacom Bulls moved to 17 log points and within just one point of the South Africa Conference leaders, the Emirates Lions, after playing six matches while the Durban outfit now trail the Highvelders by two.


The match was a typically tough South African derby, with the home team enjoying most of the territory and possession especially in the first half.


Despite those advantages the Durbanites still found themselves trailing 3-6 at the break following an exchange of penalties between Rob du Preez and Pollard.


In very pleasant coastal weather conditions, both teams made themselves guilty of numerous handling errors, leading to no tries being in the opening half.


Pote Human’s team however managed to wrestle themselves free from the home team’s defensive grip as the second half progressed. With the scores tied at 16-16 and just two minutes left to play on the clock, the Vodacom Bulls won the decisive penalty as reward for a powerful scrum, which allowed Pollard to easily slot the winning penalty from close range.


The two hookers, Akker van der Merwe (Cell C Sharks) and Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls) were red carded in the second half for a scuffle on the ground.


The the Vodacom Bull host the Jaguares at Loftus on Saturday (15h05).



Cell C Sharks 16 (3) – Tries: Dan du Preez, Andre Esterhuizen; Penalty goals: Rob du Preez (2).


Vodacom Bulls 19 (6) – Try: Jesse Kriel; Conversion: Handre Pollard; Penalty goals: Pollard (4).