#BullsFamily welcomes exciting loose forward Louw

The Blue Bulls Company can confirm the signing of the exciting and dynamic loose forward Elrigh Louw effective immediately.

The 20-year-old is an impressive physical specimen, standing 1.95m tall and weighing in at 112kg, with the former Junior Springbok flank ultimately sticking his hand up for the Southern Kings in the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on the global rugby season.

Louw was educated at Hoërskool Transvalia where he represented the Valke at the U18 Craven Week before turning out for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at U19 and U21 level.

His signing further beefs up the Vodacom Bulls’ loose forward stocks with the resumption of the domestic rugby season now within sight.

BBCo Director of Rugby, Jake White, expressed his delight in Louw’s signing as the franchise continues its preparation.

“We are delighted that Elrigh has agreed to join the #BullsFamily as he is a young flanker with a bright future. He has proven in the Guinness PRO14 that he can compete against some of the world’s finest players, and not only has he held his own but excelled while at it.”

Big Duane to lead #BullsFamily

The Vodacom Bulls are proud and excited to announce that big Duane Vermeulen will captain the #BullsFamily, while Arno Botha and Gio Aplon will serve as deputies.

The 34-year-old World Cup winning no.8 is no stranger to leadership roles as he captained the Springboks against New Zealand in Wellington last year while he also wore the DHL Stormers’ armband in 2015.

Couple this with his experience of both Southern and Northern hemisphere rugby, on top of his never-back-down attitude and dedication to perfecting his craft, and it becomes easy to understand his appointment.

Loose forward Arno Botha and utility back Gio Aplon’s appointments as Vermeulen’s deputies were based on similar calculations with Botha (28) having always been earmarked to have a hand in the Vodacom Bulls’ leadership since his junior days at Loftus Versfeld where he led the Vodacom Blue Bulls at various levels including the Currie Cup.

The 37-year-old mercurial and hot stepping utility back Aplon brings a wealth of experience that includes the DHL Stormers, Grenoble and Toyota Verblitz while boasting 17 Springbok caps, he certainly knows how and when to bring the magic on the field. It is this experience that has created a level headed, tactical type of player which will serve the younger backs greatly in the coming seasons.

The Vodacom Bulls have always had the privilege of having some of the finest leaders in world rugby amongst their ranks and it is no different at present with the likes of Trevor Nyakane, Morné Steyn, Nizaam Carr and Ivan van Zyl all highly capable leaders, both on and off the field.

Vermeulen thanked White for showing faith in him as a leader while encouraging the loyal #BullsFamily supporters during this difficult time.

“It is always a privilege to play a game of rugby and it is one I never take for granted. It’s a massive honour to be appointed captain of this group, especially at this exciting time when so much is expected from us. A huge thank you must go out to Jake and the management team for trusting me with this immense privilege.”

“This year has been a difficult one for many South Africans but rugby will return and when it does the Vodacom Bulls will be ready to make you proud.”


This is the first year in the Lemang Agricultural Services training and development programme for Farmer D, who is very passionate about farming, and is a highly motivated individual. Farmer D spent most of his time on his farm during planting season, and his crop is beyond all expectations despite the relatively short period. He planted soya beans this season because of the drought, as he didn’t want to take too much risk, planting 75 ha and another 225 ha, which he owns in partnership with a neighbour. The crop estimate is currently around 1.5 tons per ha.


Humble beginnings meant that Farmer C originally farmed on 50 ha but three years ago this started to change when he joined the Lemang Agricultural Services training and development programme. Here he garnered much-needed training in the form of in-class training, on-farm technical training with agronomists, personal development, as well as basic computer training. Monitoring and mentorship took the form of regular visits to the farm, assistance in managing accounts to ensure payments to input suppliers were made, as well as assistance with pre-season budgeting and spending.

From the humble 50 ha, Farmer C has developed into farming on just over 400 ha, made up of 140 ha of maize, 260 ha of soya beans and 20 ha of sugar beans. Yields have increased so that he is now able to produce between 6 to 9 tons per ha of maize and 1,5 to 3 tons per ha of soya beans. Farmer C’s farm is also run with equipment he was able to finance from the profits. The training, mentorship and development programme has helped Farmer C learn the latest advanced techniques. By winning “Farmer of the Year”, he walked away with a brand-new tractor from John Deere, which will make his operation even more efficient.


In this case, Farmer B began farming in 2011, cultivating 150 ha of maize. In 2012 he joined the training and development programme, and through a combination of training, monitoring and mentorship the business has grown to 640 ha – comprising 300 ha of white maize, 300 ha of soya beans and 40 ha of sugar beans.

Initial yields were 500kg per ha, but today yields are up at between 4 to 7 tons per ha of maize and soya and 1 to 2 tons per ha of sugar beans. The farmer improved his mechanisation by purchasing a six-row planter and a harvester head for soya and maize, bought through access to the AFGRI hire purchase funding model.


In the 2013/2014 season Lemang Agricultural Services met this farmer in Metsweding for the first time. Only 68 ha had been planted using a planter that was incorrectly calibrated, thus creating large, inefficient gaps amongst the maize plants. This led to an infestation of weeds. The AFGRI training and development programme that Farmer A signed up for included farmer study groups, in-class training, basic computer training, and on-farm assistance by agronomists.

This, combined with mentorship, also ensured that the farmer’s confidence in his skills and abilities was engrained. Finance provided by AFGRI ensured that he could purchase an additional 22 ha of land, bringing the total to 100 ha. Weed management was also under control, with an excellent crop on the land. Full repayment of the production loan has been made, and the next step is to plant 120 ha. This is made possible through the confidence to lease additional land, as well as having a true partner where farming matters can be discussed, and the best course of action implemented.

Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 management confirmed

The Blue Bulls Company has confirmed the coaching management of the Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 as they gear up in anticipation of defending their SA Rugby U21 Championship crown if and when the season resumes.

This year’s SA Rugby U21 Championship will run parallel with the senior Currie Cup and will feature six teams in a single round of matches before the knockout rounds.

The #BullsFamily is not only proud of the success of their juniors of last year but also determined to create a winning culture and become a powerhouse at junior as well as senior levels which is in-line with Director of Rugby, Jake White’s long-term vision for the franchise.

Hayden Groepes has been named as head coach after successfully guiding the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 to glory last year and will look to emulate that success at U21 level.

Groepes is no stranger to the junior structures at Loftus Versfeld with the former Vodacom Blue Bulls utility back serving various roles from technical analyst to head coach, while he has also Vodacom Super Rugby and Currie Cup experience as a skills coach.

The U21s will also have the combined experience of Pine Pienaar and David Manuel as assistant coaches and their senior coaching experience at Vodacom Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Super Sport Rugby Challenge, and Vodacom Cup level will ensure that the U21s have everything they need to defend their title.

One of White’s mandates is to align the region’s rugby structures from schools through to clubs and up to Vodacom Super Rugby by ensuring that the same blueprint is followed and the appointment of former Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool and Blue Bulls Craven Week coach, Jaco Koch, as assistant forward coach is another step into making this a reality.

White was excited about the junior coaching and support group, “It’s great to have a junior structure where we can grow and develop not only the young players but also the staff. This is the foundation on what happens at a senior level, and I’m extremely pleased with the group we have entrusted with this task. Hayden has enjoyed success with the u19s last year, and will be keen to continue with the bulk of that those players moving into this division”

Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 management:

  • Head coach: Hayden Groepes
  • Assistant coach – Backs: Pine Pienaar
  • Assistant coach – Forwards: Jaco Koch
  • Assistant coach – Breakdown: David Manuel
  • Scrum coach: Edgar Marutlulle
  • Conditioning coach: Shaun du Toit, Yusuf Vahed
  • Physiotherapists: Kyle Meyer, Um’r Ismail
  • Team doctor: Dr Gerhard Louwrens
  • Logistics manager: Tshepo Mashigo
  • Team manager: Werner de Beer
  • Rehab specialists: Armond de Wet, Tirsa Pittaway
  • Speed Coach: Jacus Coetzee