The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed that loose forward Arno Botha will leave the franchise at the end of the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season. Botha will link up with Ulster.
The High Performance Manager of the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg, said that Botha, who has played for the Vodacom Bulls 46 times in his career so far, will finish the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season with the team before joining up with the Irish. “Arno received a very good offer from Ulster. We have been in constant discussions with Arno about his future since 2016.
“We want to thank him for his contribution, we are thankful and proud of what he has done. The situation is that we can’t financially make an offer close to what he’s currently earning. Luckily we have great players coming through that we will be investing in,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“He is still a big player for us in the coming months and we are expecting some meaningful contributions from him as we embark on a tough Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.”
Janse van Rensburg wished Botha well. “We know he will be successful with Ulster. He is a very professional player. Both parties are in unison that it’s the best move for him at this stage of his career.”
Botha said he was comfortable with the decision. “I have achieved such a lot with the Vodacom Bulls and will give my all to help the team to try and win the Vodacom Super Rugby title in 2017, something that has eluded me so far in my career. I am only leaving at the end of the campaign and is highly motivated to deliver for the team. The decision to move to Ulster was taken after considerable thought from my side and I feel it is the right time in my career to feel what rugby in the Northern Hemisphere is all about. Till then, I am as passionate about the Bulls as I have ever been.”
For more information, please call Xander Janse van Rensburg at 072 197 3136.
Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais named an unchanged team to face the Brumbies in the GIO Stadium in Canberra on Friday in his side’s second match of their Australian trip. The Bulls started their tour with a solid win over the Force in Perth last Friday.
There is one change on the bench, with Dan Kriel getting his first run on tour and Dries Swanepoel dropping out of match day squad.
Jason Jenkins has not recovered from his niggle and was not considered, but Bjorn Basson overcame an ankle sprain and is fit to face the Australians.
“We had a good start and I was pleased with the way we played in Perth, but it all begin again this week,” Marais said.
“The Brumbies are one of the powerhouse teams in Australia and will ask different questions to our attack and defence. They are playing good rugby and we need to be sharp. I am pleased that we have the same team, as it means that we will go into the match with some consistency and momentum.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, confirmed his team’s goals for this tour.
“We did play well last weekend, but we cannot really afford to sit back and enjoy that as the Brumbies will be coming at us from the start. Canberra can be a difficult place to play, but we have won there before. The team are gelling nicely and I am looking forward to a good match where we will try to be competitive in all aspects of play. The Brumbies are going to test all aspects of our play, so we need to be ready to front up.”
The match starts at 11h45 SA time on Friday.
The team (with number of Super Caps) is: SP Marais (39), Travis Ismaiel (12), Jesse Kriel (24), Jan Serfontein (44), Bjorn Basson (92), Francois Brummer (13), Piet van Zyl (61), Hanro Liebenberg (6), Arno Botha (40), Lappies Labuschagne (43), RG Snyman (8), Marvin Orie (5), Marcel van der Merwe (41), Adriaan Strauss (126, c), Trevor Nyakane (66). Replacements: Bandise Maku (54), Lizo Gqoboka (7), Werner Kruger (116), Jannes Kirsten (8), Roelof Smit (10), Rudy Paige (28), Tian Schoeman (15), Dan Kriel (2).
Former Junior Springboks captain and no8, Hanro Liebenberg, will lead the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town on Friday when they take on DHL Western Province in the opening match of the Currie Cup Qualifying series.
Only a couple of players in the squad named by coach Hendré Marnitz have played at this level.
The likes of Callie Visagie, Deon Stegmann and Luther Obi will provide experience though.
“Yes, we are a young team with not much experience, but there is massive potential and ability,” Marnitz said.
“It is a tough start, away from home against a team that performed very well in the competition in recent years, so we will be asked tough questions. I am confident that we will be very competitive,” Marnitz said.
Liebenberg echoed the sentiment.
“If you are good enough, you are old enough. This is a group of able and willing players. They all can play the game at a high level and is keen and proud to represent the Blue Bulls. We will give our best.”
Leading agricultural services, processing and grain commodities company AFGRI will be supporting varsity-level rugby through a donation of team uniforms, which will be handed to TuksRugby at an event to be held at AFGRI’s Byls Bridge head office on 3 February 2016.
Already a keen supporter of South African rugby through its sponsorship of the Vodacom Blue Bulls team, for which TuksRugby is considered a training ground, AFGRI would like to extend its interest in the sport for the benefit of a new generation of rugby players.
“We are proud to be associated with the club, which has been in existence for more than a century, and has a proud history in the country, having produced 88 Springbok players as well as four Springbok captains,” says AFGRI CEO, Chris Venter.
TuksRugby, the official rugby club of the University of Pretoria (Tuks), and one of the largest rugby clubs in South Africa, is based at the university’s Sports Campus. One of its initiatives is TuksYouthRugby, which provides the youth of Pretoria and surroundings with well-qualified coaches and officials to assist the players in developing their potential and skills to a higher level. Another objective of TuksYouthRugby is to prepare players to such an extent as to provide to them the best opportunity to be selected for the Blue Bulls youth team through the Blue Bulls TuksRugby Academy
Congratulations to all the finalists in this year’s Dorp van die Jaar competition. All the best for the remainder of the competition.