Blitzbok named in Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 team to square off against the Free State

Blitzbok JC Pretorius has been selected to start at flank for the Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs U21 at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday, 29 June 2019.


The former HTS Middleburg scholar captained the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 in 2018 and made his Blitzbok debut at the Sydney leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in February. He has since earned 27 caps and scored 11 tries for the South African national sevens team.


Pretorius saw game time off the bench last week against the DHL Western Province U21 and head coach, Nollis Marais, opted to hand him his first start of their 2019 SA Rugby U21 Championship campaign.

Marais made several other changes to the matchday squad as Cameron Hufke and Gershwin Mouton will start at wing in the place of Jay-Cee Nel and Damian Bonaparte.

Ewart Potgieter and Kabelo Mokoena will warm the bench in the spots left vacant by Pretorius and Mouton.

Kick-off is 13:00 and the public are encouraged to support the team in what will undoubtedly be a bruising affair in Bloemfontein.

Vodacom Blue Bulls U21: 15. Andrew Kota, 14. Gershwin Mouton, 13. Diego Appollis, 12. Wian van Niekerk, 11. Cameron Hufke, 10. Fiela Boshoff, 9. Lian du Toit, 8. Muller Uys, 7. Hanru Sirgel, 6. JC Pretorius, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Ryno Pieterse, 3. Mornay Smith, 2. Werner Fourie, 1. Dewald Maritz.

Replacements: 16. Wiehan Bezuidenhout, 17. Joe van Zyl, 18. Carl Els, 19. Ewart Potgieter, 20. Johan Mulder, 21. Lionel April, 22. Kabelo Mokoena, 23. Cabous Eloff.

Kriel back for Vodacom Bulls

Vodacom Bulls midfielder, Jesse Kriel, will make a welcome return to the starting team to face the Hurricanes in the Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinals clash in Wellington on Saturday.

Kriel returns from an ankle injury sustained late in April and will run out for his 70th cap in the Vodacom Bulls jersey in the one of two changes in the starting team that outplayed the Emirates Lions last weekend.

Kriel comes in for the injured Burger Odendaal, with Johnny Kotze moving to the inside centre berth and Kriel slotting back in at 13.

Up front, Jason Jenkins also returns to partner RG Snyman at lock after missing the Lions clash as well due to injury.

He takes over from Jannes Kirsten, who reverts to the bench.

Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, said the return of Kriel and Jenkins will be a boost.

“Jesse’s experience and ability speaks for itself and to have him back for this match is good news for us. Jason has also been playing really well lately and he forms a very competitive combination with RG, so it is a plus having that.”

Human said the Vodacom Bulls don’t want to leave Wellington without a win.

“We prepared to play in the final. We are now three matches away from that, but realise that we cannot look past this one against a very dangerous Hurricanes team. They play at home, have won this competition before and have so many strike players that will keep us busy. We have found some good momentum in the last couple of weeks though and will back ourselves on Saturday.”

Vodacom Bulls captain, Handré Pollard, said the improvement the team made this year was good reward.

“We have achieved one goal and now set our target on getting into the semifinals. We have learnt good lessons this year as a group, with one of them about our consistency. We need to keep the belief, the focus and the drive.”

Pollard said they have nothing to lose.

“We already improved on last season, but now that we are here, realise how close we are to make this even more meaningful, not only for ourselves as a squad, but for the support back home.”

The team (with Super caps and points) is:

  1. Warrick Gelant (45, 70)
  2. Cornal Hendricks (40, 70)
  3. Jesse Kriel (69, 95)
  4. Johnny Kotze (46, 45)
  5. Rosko Specman (12, 25)
  6. Handré Pollard (c; 59, 625)
  7. Andre Warner (19, 15)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (122, 50)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (43, 35)
  10. Marco van Staden (25, 20)
  11. RG Snyman (48, 10)
  12. Jason Jenkins (51, 40)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (106, 15)
  14. Jaco Visagie (46, 10)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (52, 15)


  1. Johan Grobbelaar (5, 0)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (16, 5)
  3. Wiehahn Herbst (49, 0)
  4. Jannes Kirsten (32, 10)
  5. Ruan Steenkamp (20, 0)
  6. Ivan van Zyl (30, 5)
  7. Manie Libbok (17, 55)
  8. Divan Rossouw (26, 20)



Wiehahn Herbst will play in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match when he takes to the field, with the first 40 of those in the colours of the Cell C Sharks.

Vermeulen, Specman, Gelant back for Vodacom Bulls

Duane Vermeulen, Rosko Specman and Warrick Gelant will return to the Vodacom Bulls starting team to face the Emirates Lions in their final Vodacom Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The backline duo picked up injuries during the Vodacom Bulls tour to Australasia, while Vermeulen missed the New Zealand leg of the tour due to the World Cup rest protocols.

Coach Pote Human also had to replace injured lock Jason Jenkins and hooker, Schalk Brits, in a side that show six changes to the one that started against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Gelant takes over from Divan Rossouw (bench) and Specman’s return is at the expense of Dylan Sage, with Johnny Kotze moving from wing to outside centre.

Andre Warner comes in at scrumhalf in place of Embrose Papier in a rotational move.

In the pack, Vermeulen’s return resulted in Marco van Staden moving back to six, with Ruan Steenkamp benched and Jannes Kirsten slotting in for Jenkins, with Eli Snyman coming onto the bench in his place.

Johan Grobbelaar will be back-up hooker to Jaco Visagie, who took over from Schalk Brits in Dunedin.

Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, said the return of injured players will freshen up the squad.

“We are at a late stage in the competition and anyone coming back into the fray does so with new energy and fresh legs and that is always good. The nice thing about this weekend is that we have our fate in our own hands and do not have to worry about results elsewhere. We can go out and apply our minds to the job at hand.”

For Handré Pollard, the return to Loftus Versfeld will add something to the team’s effort.

“We are going to need every Vodacom Bulls supporter this weekend and I hope they come out in numbers to support us. We had some mixed performances at home this year, but the last couple of results show that we are getting into a good rhythm. It will be fantastic if we can qualify for the knock-outs for the first time in six years and do so in front of our own fans. Before that though, we will need an exceptional effort on Saturday.”

The team (with Super caps and points) is:  

  1. Warrick Gelant (44, 70)
  2. Cornal Hendricks (39, 65)
  3. Johnny Kotze (45, 45)
  4. Burger Odendaal (55, 30)
  5. Rosko Specman (11, 25)
  6. Handré Pollard (c; 58, 607)
  7. Andre Warner (18, 15)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (121, 50)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (42, 30)
  10. Marco van Staden (24, 15)
  11. RG Snyman (42, 10)
  12. Jannes Kirsten (31, 10)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (106, 15)
  14. Jaco Visagie (45, 10)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (52, 15)


  1. Johan Grobbelaar (4, 0)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (15, 5)
  3. Wiehahn Herbst (48, 0)
  4. Eli Snyman (6, 0)
  5. Ruan Steenkamp (19, 0)
  6. Ivan van Zyl (29, 5)
  7. Manie Libbok (16, 50)
  8. Divan Rossouw (25, 20)


Pollard back for Vodacom Bulls

Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, named Handré Pollard at flyhalf and captain for Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

The pivot missed the last two matches on tour due to injury, but returns in a much-changed backline from the one that drew against the Blues a week ago.

Divan Rossouw (for Warrick Gelant) and Dylan Sage (for Rosko Specman) will join Pollard (replacing Manie Libbok) in the starting line-up. Sage will move to outside centre, while Johnny Kotze moves one out in place of the injured Specman.

Human also recalled Embrose Papier to partner Pollard at halfback, with Ivan van Zyl moving to the bench and Andre Warner missing out.

The loose trio that finished the game against the Blues will start against the Highlanders.

Marco van Staden will play at no 8 in place of injured Paul Schoeman, with Hanro Liebenberg and Ruan Steenkamp on the side of the scrum. The tight five remains intact.

Johan Grobbelaar comes onto the bench as a loose forward.

Human said the tour provided some good results, but can only be seen a successful one if they get the desired outcome against the Highlanders.

“This is going to be very tough for us, but this group thrives on challenges. I think they last lost to a team from outside New Zealand in 2016, so we need to be at our very best if we want to change that statistic.”

Pollard said he is keen to get back onto the field.

“The short break was great and I am happy to be back. This is a great venue to play at and we are determined to make our visit a productive one. We last won here in 2007, so it is about time we change that.”

The team is (with Super caps and points):

  1. Divan Rossouw (24, 15)
  2. Cornal Hendricks (38, 65)
  3. Dylan Sage (8, 0)
  4. Burger Odendaal (54, 30)
  5. Johnny Kotze (44, 45)
  6. Handré Pollard (c; 57, 598)
  7. Embrose Papier (22, 5)
  8. Marco van Staden (23, 15)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (41, 30)
  10. Ruan Steenkamp (18, 0)
  11. RG Snyman (46, 10)
  12. Jason Jenkins (50, 35)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (105, 15)
  14. Schalk Brits (73, 20))
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (51, 15)


  1. Jaco Visagie (44, 5)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (14)
  3. Wiehahn Herbst (47, 0)
  4. Jannes Kirsten (29, 20)
  5. Johannes Grobbelaar (3, 0)
  6. Ivan van Zyl (28, 35)
  7. Manie Libbok (16, 50)
  8. JT Jackson (2, 0)