Vodacom Bulls Botha and Nyakane return to action

Springboks Arno Botha and Trevor Nyakane have been drafted into the matchday team that will host the Cell C Sharks in their Rainbow Cup SA clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 15 May 2021.

The duo’s inclusion at blindside flank and replacement prop sets the stage for an expected battle of epic proportions amongst the forwards.

A nod to Springbok flank Marco van Staden whose 22 tackles against the DHL Stormers disrupted proceedings to such an extent that their attack was stifled on several occasions.

The only other change sees flank Elrigh Louw shifting to the bench.

The top of the table clash between the current frontrunners is a tantalising thought with both teams enjoying victories over each other, and this weekend’s meeting shall be no different according to Vodacom Bulls: Director of Rugby, Jake White.

“We’ve had a few epic battles thus far and the Sharks will be keen to get one over us at Loftus as it is something they’ve yet to do,” said White.

“The forward tussle is going to set the tone while both backlines are brimming with relentless talent so it should make for an exciting but hard encounter,” he added.

Kick-off is scheduled for 18h15 with the match being broadcast live on SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby channels.

Vodacom Bulls:

  1. David Kriel (Centurion)
  2. Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria)
  3. Marco Janse van Vuren (Pretoria)
  4. Cornal Hendricks (Northam)
  5. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins)
  6. Morné Steyn (Tuine)
  7. Embrose Papier (Tukkies)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (Harlequins, C)
  9. Arno Botha (Naka Bulle)
  10. Marco van Staden (Pretoria)
  11. Ruan Nortje (Naka Bulle)
  12. Walt Steenkamp (Centurion)
  13. Mornay Smith (Centurion)
  14. Johan Grobbelaar (Tukkies)
  15. Gerhard Steenekamp (Nake Bulle)

Replacements:

  1. Schalk Erasmus (Tuine)
  2. Lizo Gqoboka (Naka Bulle)
  3. Trevor Nyakane (Harlequins)
  4. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria)
  5. Elrigh Louw (Tukkies)
  6. Zak Burger (Tuine)
  7. Chris Smith (Harlequins)
  8. James Verity-Amm (Pretoria)
  9. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine)
  10. Reinhardt Ludwig (U20)
  11. Nizaam Carr (Centurion)
  12. Keagan Johannes (Tukkies)

Match officials:

  • Referee: Jaco Peyper
  • AR1: Griffon Colby
  • AR2: Paul Mente
  • TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen

Confirmation of final four rounds of PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA

The big PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA clash between the leaders on the log, the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks, kicks off at 18h15 on Saturday, while the Emirates Lions host the DHL Stormers earlier in the day.

The match at Emirates Airline Park will kick-off at 13h30 on Saturday and is part of a list of confirmed fixtures released by the organisers on Tuesday.

The kick-off times and venues for the final three rounds of the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA were also confirmed, with the competition headed for a thrilling final round on Saturday, 12 June, when the two coastal sides welcome their two inland opponents to Cape Town and Durban.

After two strong performances in the opening rounds, the Cell C Sharks lead the standings with a full-house of 10 log points, followed by the Vodacom Bulls on eight.

The DHL Stormers, who were edged by four and three points respectively in their first two matches by the teams at the top of the log, are third on two points, while the Emirates Lions are on one – a four-try bonus-point they got for fighting until the end in their clash in Durban last weekend.

PRO14 RAINBOW CUP SA FIXTURES – ROUNDS 3-6

 Saturday 15 May

13h30: Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)

18h15: Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

Saturday 22 May

13h00: Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers (Jonsson Kings Park, Durban)

15h30: Emirates Lions v Vodacom Bulls (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)

Friday 4 June

19h00: Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

 Saturday 5 June

16h00: Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)

Saturday 12 June

16h00: DHL Stormers v Emirates Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)

18h15: Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Bulls (Jonsson Kings Park, Durban)

 

Note: All fixtures are subject to change.

Vermeulen returns for North-South derby

Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has adjusted his match-day squad slightly as they prepare to travel to the Cape where they will face the DHL Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 8 May 2021.

Headlining the changes is the return of Springbok no.8 and #TrueToTheBlue captain Duane Vermeulen. He will resume the captaincy from fellow Springbok Nizaam Carr with Carr dropping to the bench, from where he will be looking to undoubtedly provide a crucial impact when called upon.

The backs have been adjusted slightly with a direct exchange as James Verity-Amm and Chris Smith switching out for David Kriel and Morné Steyn respectively.

The heavy men up front will only see one other change, outside of the return of Vermeulen, with Walt Steenkamp starting in the number 4 jumper as Janko Swanepoel shifts to the bench.

The Vodacom Bulls boasts a bench packed oozing with talent and like last weekend, will provide fresh legs and more energy.

“Last week certainly proved how vital it is that we continue getting as much competitive rugby under our belts,” said White. “The players need little motivation for another brutal North-South derby and we are definitely up for the challenge against a solid DHL Stormers outfit.”

Kick-off is scheduled for 18:15 with the match being broadcast live on SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby channels.

Vodacom Bulls (with clubs):

  1. David Kriel (Centurion)
  2. Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria)
  3. Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria)
  4. Cornal Hendricks (Northam)
  5. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins)
  6. Morné Steyn (Tuine)
  7. Embrose Papier (Tukkies)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (Harlequins, Captain)
  9. Elrigh Louw (Tukkies)
  10. Marco van Staden (Pretoria)
  11. Ruan Nortje (Naka Bulle)
  12. Walt Steenkamp (Centurion)
  13. Mornay Smith (Centurion)
  14. Johan Grobbelaar (Tukkies)
  15. Gerhard Steenekamp (Naka Bulle)

Replacements:

  1. Schalk Erasmus (Tuine)
  2. Lizo Gqoboka (Naka Bulle)
  3. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine)
  4. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria)
  5. Nizaam Carr (Centurion)
  6. Zak Burger (Tuine)
  7. Chris Smith (Harlequins)
  8. James Verity-Amm (Pretoria)

 

  1. Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Under 20)
  2. Reinhardt Ludwig (Under 20)
  3. Arno Botha (Naka Bulle)
  4. Keagan Johannes (Tukkies)
  5. Janco Uys (Tuine)

Voster becomes #TrueToTheBlue

The Blue Bulls Company is delighted to announce the signing of centre Harold Voster, who returns to South Africa from Japan. Voster enjoyed a stellar career across the Jukskei where he represented the Xerox Golden Lions and Emirates Lions accumulating 70 caps in the Vodacom Super Rugby and 17 more in the Currie Cup.

In 2018, the hard-running centre made the move to Japan where he turned out for the Panasonic Wild Knights. Voster has established himself as a no-nonsense centre who wields blistering pace and explosive strength which was rewarded in 2017 as he donned the South Africa A jersey against the French Barbarians.

“Attracting the type of talent Harold possesses is exactly what we are looking for at Loftus Versfeld. His signing adds immense depth to our backs and we are keen to see what he brings to the table,” said Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.

Video Link: https://fb.watch/5jn9RhNS_a/

VODACOM BULLS STARS JOIN THEIR CLUBS!

In a bold and exciting move to help synergise and foster better relationships with the rugby clubs in Pretoria, Vodacom Bulls contracted players were allocated to the Carlton League clubs via a draft system, similar to the one used in the NFL.  No less than 11 players will make their Carlton league debut on Saturday, 8 May 2021, when the 2021 Carlton League season kicks off. For the first time in more than a decade, professional players from the Vodacom Bulls will be in action at club level.

  • ABE Midas Naka Bulls: Werner Gouws, Diego Appollis, Jay-Cee Nel
  • Harlequins Rugby Club: Henco Beukes, Mhleli Dlamini (Giraffe)
  • Centurion Rugby Club: Bernard van der Linde
  • Tuine Rugby Club: WJ Steenkamp, Janco Uys, Richard Kriel, Schalk Erasmus
  • Pretoria Rugby Club: Dawid Kellerman

According to Willem Strauss, President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, making club rugby relevant and growing the game at the community level is as important as winning trophies.

“In the last three years we have implemented several strategies and initiatives to make club rugby relevant again. We have aligned our professional and amateur structures to create pathways for club players to our professional under-20 and under-21 teams. No less than seven club players form part of the current professional under-20 squad. We also revived our iconic Loftus 200 team and expanded the Carlton League to include two more clubs. We also initiated an extremely successful Volcano under-20 league, which acted as a feeder source to numerous under 20 provincial teams in the country.”

“This initiative will connect local community rugby with the professional structures of the union again. I would like to thank our shareholders for their contribution towards the commercial requirements of the players. Without their support, this initiative would not have been possible.”

Jake White, Director of Rugby at the BBCo, said that to strengthen club structures, most of the players will be serving their clubs when not being selected for the week’s squad. Although they will not necessarily participate in club matches, players such as Duane Vermeulen, Trevor Nyakane, and Morné Steyn will be attending at least two social events at the relevant club.

White confirmed that he was part of a similar programme while at the Brumbies, “It is important that players associate with their local clubs. They must understand club structures and being part of club rugby. According to SARU’s Constitution, a player must be affiliated to a club to play provincial rugby.”

See below the complete list of affiliations:

CENTURION RUGBY CLUB: Gio Aplon, Bernard van der Linde, Mornay Smith, Travis Ismaiel, Nizaam Carr, David Kriel, Walt Steenkamp, Kurt-Lee Arendse

HARLEQUINS RUGBY CLUB: Duane Vermeulen, Mhleli Dlamini, Henco Beukes, Sintu Manjezi, Trevor Nyakane, Chris Smith, Stravino Jacobs, Joe van Zyl

NAKA BULLE: Werner Gouws, Diego Appollis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Arno Botha, Ruan Nortje, Lizo Gqoboka, Jay-Cee Nel, Gerhard Steenkamp

PRETORIA RUGBY CLUB: Janko Swanepoel, James Verity-Amm, Jan Uys, Jaco Labuschagne, Dawid Kellerman, Marco van Staden, Madosh Tambwe, Marco Jansen van Vuren

TUINE RUGBY CLUB: WJ Steenkamp, Richard Kriel, Janco Uys, Jacques van Rooyen, Morné Steyn, Schalk Erasmus, Ivan van Zyl, Zak Burger

TUKKIES: Clinton Swart, Marnus Potgieter, Muller Uys, Keagan Johannes, Embrose Papier, Elrigh Louw, Johan Grobbelaar, Tim Agaba

NORTHAM RUGBY CLUB: Cornal Hendriks, Stedman Gans

The following fixtures will be played on Saturday, 8 May 2021 at 16:00:

  • Naka Bulls vs Harlequin
  • Centurion vs Northam
  • Tuine vs Pretoria

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).

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.