Powerful Vodacom Bulls team named for Rainbow Cup opener

The Vodacom Bulls welcome back a wealth of experience as Director of Rugby Jake White named his matchday squad to battle the Emirates Lions at Loftus Versfeld on 1 May 2021.

The backs are headlined by new recruit James Verity-Amm who gets his first opportunity in the #TrueToTheBlue jersey at fullback while Madosh Tambwe and Stravino Jacobs will do duty on the wings.

Marco Jansen van Vuren links up with Springbok Cornal Hendricks in the midfield with Chris Smith entrusted with organising the backline at flyhalf alongside Springbok scrumhalf Embrose Papier.

Nizaam Carr continues as captain in the absence of fellow Springbok Duane Vermeulen while the flank duo of Elrigh Louw and Marco van Staden will undoubtedly cause havoc for their Jukskei neighbours.

The front row is one of raw talent as Mornay Smith and Gerhard Steenekamp will prop up hooker Johan Grobbelaar.

The replacement bench is not short of experience either as Springbok prop Lizo Gqoboka and the Policeman, Jacques van Rooyen, will bring fresh legs to the forward pack alongside lock Walt Steenkamp and Springbok loose forward Arno Botha.

“We have continued to test combinations as knowing this assists in us in getting the best out of every individual and I’m looking forward to watching them gel together on Saturday against a formidable Lions’ outfit,” said White.

Kick-off is scheduled for 19:00 with the match being televised live on SuperSport.

Vodacom Bulls: 15. James Verity-Amm (Pretoria), 14. Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), 13. Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria), 12. Cornal Hendricks (Northam), 11. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins), 10. Chris Smith (Harlequins), 9. Embrose Papier (Tukkies), 8. Nizaam Carr (Centurion), 7. Elrigh Louw (Tukkies), 6. Marco van Staden (Pretoria), 5. Ruan Nortje (Naka Bulle), 4. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), 3. Mornay Smith (Centurion), 2. Johan Grobbelaar (Tukkies), 1. Gerhard Steenekamp (Harlequins).


Replacements: 16. Joe van Zyl (Harlequins), 17. Lizo Gqoboka (Naka Bulle), 18. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), 19. Walt Steenkamp (Centurion), 20. Arno Botha (Naka Bulle), 21. Zak Burger (Tuine), 22. Morné Steyn (Tuine), 23. David Kriel, 24. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 25. Reinhardt Ludwig, 26. Tim Agaba (Tukkies), 27. Diego Appollis (Naka Bulle).

AFGRI Equipment secures John Deere Construction & Forestry Equipment franchise

AFGRI Equipment, part of the AFGRI Group, is proud to announce that it has been appointed the sole distributor of John Deere’s Construction & Forestry range of equipment in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and AFGRI’s areas of operation in South Africa.

According to Patrick Roux, Managing Director of AFGRI Equipment, this builds on the successful partnership already in place with John Deere in Western Australia, where AFGRI Equipment is the single largest distributor of the Construction & Forestry range. The extensive AFGRI Equipment branch network in Western Australia has been instrumental in further building the John Deere brand since AFGRI Equipment’s appointment to market the range in early 2019.

“The success we’ve enjoyed with the John Deere agricultural range in these markets, i.e. Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and our areas of operation in South Africa, combined with our outstanding service levels and ethos, as well as excellent customer relationships, established a solid base of operations to further build out and strengthen the Deere brand, given the synergies that exist between the agricultural and construction equipment ranges.”

Roux added that AFGRI Equipment was delighted with the appointment, which certainly cements the relationship with John Deere. “However, more important is the ability to now offer these markets access to this well-respected and premium range of equipment. John Deere is well aware of our established footprint in these countries, and certainly that was another factor in their decision.”

This appointment provides AFGRI Equipment with a solid diversification angle to the business and sector to support, which will strongly underpin sustainability and growth.

Roux added that he was confident that AFGRI Equipment’s deep retail knowledge and experience in the agricultural sector could easily be transferred to the construction and forestry space. “We have  become the ‘go to’ company for many farmers, and we’re truly delighted to extend our services to local mining, construction, and forestry companies, with the hope that we will earn this same reputation.”

Initially, the Construction & Forestry range will be available through selected AFGRI Equipment branches, with the idea being to develop a stand-alone Construction & Forestry business unit in due course. To this end, Pieter Nel has been appointed to head up the business. Nel has extensive experience in construction and agricultural equipment.

“We look forward to working with new clients to introduce an extensive range of solutions, purposefully built on the backbone of technology to drive down the costs of operation and increase efficiency,” concluded Roux.

A tribute to the day the men in blue shook the rugby world | Historic jersey now on sale

On 7 June 1997, 15 men pulled on a light blue jersey with a daisy over their hearts, ran onto the grass of Loftus Versfeld, and pushed back the might of northern hemisphere rugby on a day the British and Irish Lions have never forgotten.

For the first and only time, the mighty British and Irish Lions were beaten by a provincial rugby team. But the truth is that those 15 men in blue that day will be the first to tell you that the Vodacom Bulls is no ordinary provincial rugby team.

In honour of that 35-30 victory, the Vodacom Bulls have launched a new version of the jersey worn that day. It’s the same light blue colour that is as synonymous with a sports team as the red kit of Manchester United or the iconic white vest of the Chicago Bulls. And this piece of sporting history is being made available by Vodacom for #TrueToTheBlue fans to purchase exclusively through the Vodacom Bulls App from 25 April, for a reduced price of R650.

It’s a decision by Vodacom that has brought a smile to the face of Casper Steyn, who 24 years later is still stopped in the street and asked, “Aren’t you that man?”

Martin Johnson’s British and Irish Lions certainly remember “that man” well. It was Steyn, the left wing and goalkicker for the Vodacom Bulls that day, who led the dismantling of a red machine that was expecting to sweep all before it on the rugby fields of South Africa. Until they arrived at Loftus.

“In the changeroom before that match, we were reminded by our coaching staff exactly who we were playing that afternoon,” recalls Steyn, who that day scored 20 of his team’s 35 points with a try, three conversions and three penalties.

“These were great players you had read about, and now you were playing against them. Staring them in the face. I mean, here was Tony Underwood who plays for England, and here I am running out against him at Loftus. For a lot of us in the Bulls team that day, it was a great honour. And it felt quite surreal. Last week you’re playing a Currie Cup game, and then suddenly this week you’re playing the British and Irish Lions.”

Steyn says that at the core of everything they hoped to achieve that afternoon was the famous blue jersey they wore.

“I was nervous as hell. I was the rookie on the team that day compared to some of my more experienced teammates. You don’t know what’s going to happen when you run out onto that field. But we all wanted to give a good performance. As individuals, and as a team. We wanted to keep the Bulls name high. You grew up loving that blue jersey and wanting to wear it. I remember in 1991 how as a 17-year-old I went with my dad to watch the Bulls play Transvaal. And it was at that match that I told my dad, ‘I want to play for this team.

“And then when I did get the chance, my first match was against the Lions at Ellis Park. I remember the build-up. Here were Springbok legends such as Reuben Kruger, Joost van der Westhuizen and Krynauw Otto, and when we pulled on the blue jersey they were my teammates. That was unbelievable for me. You’re on the bus to the game and you are one of them because of that blue jersey.

“That jersey will always stand out for me, and the loyalty it inspired. You played rugby just to be able to wear that blue jersey. To me, it literally felt like you played for that blue jersey and what it represented. As a team, you took your knocks in that blue jersey, and you fought your battles in it. You wanted to be better in that jersey, and to not let your teammates down. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world.”

Years later, and the current generation of Vodacom Bulls stars feel the same.

When wing Cornal Hendricks was given his first exclusive look of the new Vodacom Bulls jersey, he knew exactly what it represented even though he was only a teenager when Steyn and the Bulls dismantled the British and Irish Lions.

“This jersey goes back a long way. The colour reminds us all about the teams before us and the players who wore this before us. It feels great to represent this proud union in this traditional jersey. I think the former Bulls players will really feel a lot of pride as well, and it will bring back a lot of memories for them.”

Memories of a Saturday in June. At a stadium in Kirkness Street, Pretoria. And of a day when 15 men pulled on a light blue jersey and held back a rugby empire.

Goosen joins #BullsFamily

The Blue Bulls Company is delighted to confirm, our worst kept secret yet ????, the signing of Springbok utility back Johan Goosen.

The 28-year-old flyhalf, who can hold his own at centre and fullback, is a product of Grey College in Bloemfontein and it was in the City of Roses where he began his professional career, representing the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, Toyota Cheetahs, and the Emerging Cheetahs.

Goosen is a talented attacking flyhalf with a powerful boot and natural instinct with these attributes earning him call-ups to the Junior Springboks (2011), the Springbok XV (2014), and the Springboks shortly thereafter.

Goosen has sharpened his trade in France over the last several seasons, turning out for Racing Metro and Montpellier before being lured back to South Africa. He will link up with the Vodacom Bulls on 1 July 2021.

“We are definitely excited for Johan’s eminent arrival in Pretoria and look forward to his contribution. He has consistently performed at the highest level since his early days and his experience will bode well for our younger backs while providing us with attacking opportunities when he takes the field,” said Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.

“I’m excited to be returning to my homeland and representing the Vodacom Bulls who are rising in strength day by day. Rugby in Pretoria has an exciting future and I’m grateful to be part of it,” said Goosen.


Du Plessis returns to Loftus

The Blue Bulls Company is delighted to announce the signing of loose forward Jacques du Plessis from French club, Montpellier, effective 1 July 2021 on a three-year deal.

The 27-year-old Du Plessis, affectionately known as “Sheep”, started his professional career at Loftus Versfeld where he made his Vodacom Super Rugby (31 caps), Currie Cup (30 caps), and Vodacom Cup debuts in 2013, after representing the Vodacom Blue Bulls at U19 and U21 levels.

The former Junior Springbok and SA Schools’ flank, who slots in at lock with ease, moved to Montpellier at the end of 2015 where he went on to earn more than 100 caps for the French Top 14 club.

Du Plessis was renowned for his uncompromising play and ferocious tackling while at Loftus Versfeld and cemented his style of play while in France.

“Having Jacques return to Loftus is testament to what we’re trying to establish in Pretoria… a franchise where players want to be! His ability to play as a loose forward and lock gives us depth amongst the forwards. Jacques is an extremely physical and uncompromising player, and we’re looking forward to his contributions in the #TrueToTheBlue jersey,” said Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.

Verity-Amm joins the #BullsFamily

The Blue Bulls Company is delighted to announce the signing of utility back James Verity-Amm who joins the Vodacom Bulls from the Tafel Lager Griquas effective immediately.

Verity-Amm (26) attended Hottentots Holland High School in the Western Cape where he represented DHL Western Province at junior level and FNB UWC in the FNB Varsity Shield.

In 2016, he made the long trip to Australia where he linked up with the Future Force Academy in Perth. It didn’t take long before the man with an affinity in finding the try line got his opportunity with Western Force where he made his starting debut against the Emirates Lions in 2017’s Vodacom Super Rugby.

The deadly attacking threat has kept South African teams on their toes since returning from a short stint with the Brumbies, where he continuously kept opposition defences honest during the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and 2021 Carling Currie Cup campaigns for the Peacock Blues. Fans will also remember the amazing brace he scored against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus late last year in the Unlocked tournament.

“James is a talented player who is rock solid on both attack and defence. His acquisition will only strengthen our backs and we are looking forward to adding a player of his ability to our roster,” said Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.

BIG ‘Giraffe’ Dlamini joins the #BullsFamily

The Blue Bulls Company is delighted to announce the signing of front row powerhouse Mheli Dlamini, from KZN based Crusaders Rugby Club in Durban North.


Affectionately known as Giraffe, the tighthead prop enjoyed a stint with the Down Touch Griffins in the Carling Currie Cup First Division before moving to the KZN club scene where he represented the Balito Dolphins before linking up with Crusaders Durban North.


The soft spoken gentle giant stands at 1.89m tall and makes a few of his fellow props look smaller than they actually are. On the field, he is known for his uncompromising defence and despite his behemoth size, is mobile around the park.


“Mheli is an example of those rugby gems who’ve taken the road less travelled. His playing ability fits what we’re looking for at the Vodacom Bulls and he will learn a lot under the tutelage of our numerous Springbok front rowers. We are looking forward to what he brings to the table,” said Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.