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)

Replacements:

  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)

 

Notes:

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)

Replacements: 

  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)

Replacements:

  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)

 

Two changes for Vodacom Bulls against Blues

Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, named Ivan van Zyl at scrumhalf and flanker Marco van Staden in his starting team for Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland. Van Zyl takes over from Andre Warner and Van Staden comes in at flank for Paul Schoeman, who moves to no. 8 in place of Duane Vermeulen.

The Springbok no. 8 returned to South Africa as part of the SA Rugby agreement with contracted Springboks and their franchises.

Jason Jenkins will don the blue jersey for the 50th time.

According to Human, they need to start well against the home side, who have won 11 of their 12 home games against the Vodacom Bulls.

“We need to get a good start and sustain that throughout the match. They have some quality players, but the real test will be in the set-pieces. The Blues have the best scrum success rate (97%) in the competition, so that will be a critical area for us.”

With Handré Pollard and Duane Vermeulen out, Burger Odendaal will take over the captaincy.

The midfielder said they have clear objectives in this match.

“We are the underdogs, no doubt about that. That is good for us, as we can only concentrate on our own game and that we want to achieve. This will have to be very clinical performance from us. If not, it will be a long evening.”

The team is:

  1. Warrick Gelant (37, 60)
  2. Cornal Hendricks (37, 60)
  3. Johnny Kotze (43, 45)
  4. Burger Odendaal (c; 53, 30)
  5. Rosko Spekman (10, 25)
  6. Manie Libbok (15, 38)
  7. Ivan van Zyl (27, 5)
  8. Paul Schoeman (31, 35)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (40, 25)
  10. Marco van Staden (22, 15)
  11. RG Snyman (45, 10)
  12. Jason Jenkins (49, 35)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (104, 15)
  14. Schalk Brits (72, 20)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (50, 15)

Replacements:

  1. Jaco Visagie (43, 5)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (13, 5)
  3. Wiehahn Herbst (46, 0)
  4. Jannes Kirsten (29, 10)
  5. Ruan Steenkamp (17, 0)
  6. Andre Warner (17, 15)
  7. JT Jackson (2, 0)
  8. Divan Rossouw (23, 15)

Notes:

Jason Jenkins will play in his 50th match in Vodacom Super Rugby.

Vermeulen to lead Vodacom Bulls against Brumbies

Duane Vermeulen will lead the Vodacom Bulls in their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Friday.

Regular captain, Handré Pollard will miss this clash due to a calf strain picked up in training earlier this week, and will be returning to South Africa. His place in the number 10 jersey will be taken by Manie Libbok, with Vermeulen taking over as captain.

Human called JT Jackson onto the bench in place of the promoted Libbok. The rest of the match day squad that played against the Rebels last week, remain unchanged.

Human said Libbok, who started for the Vodacom Bulls against the Jaquares earlier in the season, has big shoes to fill, but certainly has the ability and skills to help the team achieve a second win on tour.

“He would not be around if he was not good enough, that is for sure. Handré is probably the leading 10 in the world at the moment, so to take over from him is not easy, but Manie has done well for us when he took to the field this year and I have the utmost confidence in him this weekend. He is an exciting young talent and we are looking forward to watching him grow.”

For Vermeulen, the defensive effort that the squad showed last week, must be repeated.

“We defended very well when under severe pressure and the Brumbies are going to test us the same way. They are so skilled and determined, we cannot let our guard down or we will pay the price,” he said

Kick-off is at 11h45 SA time.

 

The team (with caps and points) is:

  1. Warrick Gelant (42, 70)
  2. Cornal Hendricks (36, 60)
  3. Johnny Kotze (42, 45)
  4. Burger Odendaal (52, 30)
  5. Rosko Specman (9, 25)
  6. Manie Libbok (14, 33)
  7. André Warner (16, 15)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (captain; 120, 50)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (39, 20)
  10. Paul Schoeman (30, 35)
  11. RG Snyman (44, 10)
  12. Jason Jenkins (48, 35)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (103, 15)
  14. Schalk Brits (71, 20)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (49, 15)

 

Replacements:

  1. Jaco Visagie (42, 5)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (12, 5)
  3. Wiehan Herbst (45, 0)
  4. Jannes Kirsten (28, 10)
  5. Marco van Staden (21, 15)
  6. Embrose Papier (21, 5)
  7. JT Jackson (1, 0)
  8. Divan Rossouw (22, 15)

Note:

Lizo Gqoboka will play in his 50th match for the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

Kriel and De Jager to leave Vodacom Bulls

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed the departure of Springboks Lood de Jager and Jesse Kriel at the end of the current season and wished them well in their future endeavours.

De Jager will join Sale Sharks in England and Kriel is heading to Japan to play for the Canon Eagles.

The CEO of the BBC, Alfons Meyer, thanks the two Vodacom Bulls players for the legacy they will leave in Pretoria.

“There can be no doubt that both were very popular amongst our fans, not only because of their personalities, but also because of their passion for the Vodacom Bulls and their styles of play.

“Neither ever stopped trying to give 110% and both became Springboks that have graced the green and gold with much aplomb. We are sad to see them leave, but we cannot fault their contributions and commitments while they were here,” Meyer said.

“We wish them well in their careers.”

Kriel has played for the Vodacom Bulls 69 times, scoring 19 tries. He played in 40 tests this far and scored 12 tries.

De Jager played in 20 matches for the Vodacom Bulls (and 40 for the Toyota Cheetahs) in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament. He has played in 39 tests so far, scoring four tries.

Jenkins and Brits back in Vodacom Bulls pack

Springboks, Schalk Brits and Jason Jenkins, are back in the Vodacom Bulls pack for their Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

Brits has served a four week suspension and will start at hooker, while Jenkins is fit again following injury. Like Brits, he last played for the Vodacom Bulls in their 19-16 win over the Cell C Sharks at the end of March. They replace Jaco Visagie and Jannes Kirsten respectively, with Visagie dropping to the bench and Kirtsen moving into the number 7 jersey.

The duo’s return resulted in Vodacom Bulls Head Coach, Pote Human, making two changes in the pack, as well as two in the backline.

In a rotational change Ivan van Zyl drops out of the match 23 and will be replaced by André Warner at scrumhalf in the starting team, while Warner’s place on the bench is taken by Embrose Papier.

Burger Odendaal, who was a late withdrawal from last weekend’s clash against the Waratahs, has been declared fit and he will start at centre in place of Dylan Sage, who drops out of the match day squad altogether.

Odendaal and Kotze will man the midfield against the New Zealand outfit.

Human welcomed the return of his two Springboks in the pack.

“Schalk has been itching to play for the last couple of weeks and he will be very keen. Jason also recovered well and looked very sharp in training. Both are players of international standard, so it is great to have them back. Our pack will need to step up to the plate if we want to contain the Crusaders and these two are certainly capable of adding to that.”

Vodacom Bulls captain, Handré Pollard, said they are determined to end this phase of the tournament on a strong footing.

“We travel overseas after this and will only be back at Loftus next month, so this is a very important match for us. We need to do well here in order to maintain our log position and to get some momentum for the tour. Everyone realises what is at stake,” he said.

The squad (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is:

  1. Warrick Gelant (41, 70)
  2. Cornal Hendricks (34, 55)
  3. Johnny Kotze (40, 45)
  4. Burger Odendaal (50, 20)
  5. Rosko Specman (7, 20)
  6. Handré Pollard (c; 55, 573)
  7. André Warner (14, 15)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (118, 50)
  9. Jannes Kirsten (26, 10)
  10. Marco van Staden (19, 15)
  11. RG Snyman (42, 15)
  12. Jason Jenkins (46, 35)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (101, 15)
  14. Schalk Brits (69, 20)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (47, 15)

 

Replacements:

  1. Jaco Visagie (40, 5)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (10, 5)
  3. Wiehahn Herbst (43, 0)
  4. Thembelani Bholi (36, 6)
  5. Paul Schoeman (28, 35)
  6. Embrose Papier (19, 5)
  7. Manie Libbok (12, 33),
  8. Divan Rossouw (20, 15)

Papier to make rare start for Vodacom Blue Bulls

Embrose Papier will make a rare start for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge when they take on the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Papier played in the competition three times last year before making his Springbok debut later in the year. He will replace André Warner, who was called into the Vodacom Bulls squad.

Coach Nollis Marais was forced in a number of changes to his starting team that came up short against the iSG Pumas last weekend, due to other call-ups.

Cornal Hendricks, Rosko Specman and Dylan Sage are all needed at the Vodacom Bulls, which will see a brand new backline in action.

Earll Dowrie will start at fullback, while Duncan Matthews moves from the back to wing and JT Jackson from flyhalf to centre. Cameron Hufke will make his senior debut on the wing and Theo Boshoff will start at 10. Erich Cronje is the only player who will wear the same jersey again.

Up front, Nic de Jager will make a first appearance at flank while Marais also included a fit-again Roelof Smit on the bench.

Vaughan Isaacs and Diego Appollis has also being called into action, with both playing off the bench.

The changes are par for the course, said Marais.

“There is always the danger of losing players to the Vodacom Bulls and we have to cope with that. We also get players back at times and I am sure Embrose will enjoy the time on the field with us. The Namibian side are well-coached and will be a tough opponent, but we need to make sure we get on the winning track, starting this weekend,” he said.

The team is: Earll Douwrie, Duncan Matthews, Erich Cronje, JT Jackson, Cameron Hufke, Fiela Boshoff, Embrose Papier, Muller Uys, Nic De Jager, Ruan Steenkamp (c), Aston Fortuin, Marius Verwey, Mornay Smith, Werner Fourie, Nqoba Mxoli. Replacements: Joe van Zyl, Madot Mabokela, Ruan Nortje, Roelof Smit, Theo Maree, Vaughan Isaacs, Diego Appollis

Hendricks, Specman back for Vodacom Bulls

Wingers Cornal Hendricks and Rosko Specman have been recalled to Vodacom Bulls duties and will start against the Waratahs on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

Hendricks started in five of his six appearances in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition this year and last played against the Jaquares four weeks ago.

Specman, who has scored four tries in his six appearances, last featured against the Cell C Sharks in March.

The duo comes in for injured Jesse Kriel and Jade Stighling respectively, following the close 22-23 defeat to the DHL Stormers in Cape Town last week. Coach Pote Human moved Johnny Kotze to outside centre in place of Kriel, with Hendricks benefitting from this positional move.

Dylan Sage comes onto the bench in place of injured Divan Rossouw, while coach Pote Human also called André Warner into the match day squad. Sage started in three of his six appearances in the Vodacom Super Rugby season this year and last played against the Jaquares four weeks ago.

Warner won the last of his 13 caps against the Sunwolves last year and takes over from Embrose Papier on the bench.

Human left his pack unchanged.

The coach said the changes should not impact on the team’s performance.

“Both Rosko and Cornal played for us in more than half of our matches and are keen to get another run. I have no doubt we will see a good performance from both. Johnny has played outside centre for us before and will slot in with ease,” Human explained.

“We have a clear vision of what we want to achieve from this game,” he said.

“The Waratahs have a number of strike runners in their side and if they are allowed to prosper, you are in trouble. We will have to execute our plays and plans ruthlessly if we want to keep on the right side of the log,” Human said.

Vodacom Bulls captain, Handré Pollard, said they are pleased to be back at Loftus Versfeld.

“We have been a tad inconsistent at home, to be honest we need to deliver a performance that we and the Loftus faithful will be happy with.”

 

The team (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is:

15.Warrick Gelant (40, 65)

  1. Cornal Hendricks (33, 55)
  2. Johnny Kotze (39, 45)
  3. Burger Odendaal (50, 20)
  4. Rosko Specman (6, 20)
  5. Handré Pollard (c; 54, 560)
  6. Ivan van Zyl (26, 5)
  7. Duane Vermeulen (117, 45)
  8. Hanro Liebenberg (37, 20)
  9. Marco van Staden (18, 15)
  10. RG Snyman (41, 10)

 

  1. Jannes Kirsten (25, 10)
  2. Trevor Nyakane (100, 15)
  3. Jaco Visagie (39, 5)
  4. Lizo Gqoboka (46, 15)

 

Replacements:

  1. Johan Grobbelaar (3, 0)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (9, 0)
  3. Wiehan Herbst (42, 0)
  4. Thembelani Bholi (36, 5)
  5. Paul Schoeman (27, 35)
  6. André Warner (13, 15)
  7. Manie Libbok (12, 33)
  8. Dylan Sage (6, 0).

Vermeulen back for Vodacom Bulls as Nyakane hits 100

Trevor Nyakane will play in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match on Saturday when the Vodacom Bulls take on the DHL Stormers in Cape Town in a match that will also see the return to action of Duane Vermeulen.

Nyakane, who played 42 times for the Toyota Cheetahs before moving to Pretoria and Vermeulen, who was rested against the Reds two weeks ago, will be the only centurions in the team to take on the home side at DHL Newlands. Nyakane will be the fifth South African prop to become a Vodacom Super Rugby centurion.

Midfielder Burger Odendaal will also achieve a milestone and will be running out for his 50th game for the Vodacom Bulls.

Vodacom Bulls Head Coach, Pote Human, welcomed back Vermeulen after his rest protocols and he slots back into the number 8 jersey, with Paul Schoeman, who started against the Reds, dropping to the bench in place of Roelof Smit. The only other change is on the bench as well, where Johan Grobbelaar replaces Corniel Els as back-up hooker.

Human said he hopes the squad can retain some consistency, following a bye weekend.

“The last time we had a bye, the result was not a good one, so we are pretty mindful of that. I don’t think complacency will be a factor, at least the guys did not show any in training. It has to do with the fact that we are travelling down to Cape Town. A clash with the home side down there is always a massive one for us.”

Human congratulated Nyakane on his achievement. “This shows his consistency. He plays at a high level week-in and week-out and this is well deserved,” said Human.

For Handré Pollard, who again takes the captaincy, the trip is important for more than one reason.

“We have been up and down and need to show that we can keep the momentum from last time out. The Stormers are coming off a defeat at home, so will be very keen to bounce back. They outplayed us last time we went down there and the guys are keen to rectify that result. Most importantly though is to show the effort is worth the hard work we put in. We have been our worst enemies at times this season.”

The match starts at 15h05.

The team (with Super caps and points) is:

  1. Warrick Gelant (39, 65)
  2. Johnny Kotze (38, 45)
  3. Jesse Kriel (68, 95)
  4. Burger Odendaal (49, 20)
  5. Jade Stighling (4, 10)
  6. Handré Pollard (53, 547)
  7. Ivan van Zyl (25, 0)
  8. Duane Vermeulen (116, 45)
  9. Hanro Liebenberg (36, 20)
  10. Marco van Staden (17, 15)
  11. RG Snyman (40, 10)
  12. Jannes Kirsten (24, 10)
  13. Trevor Nyakane (99, 15)
  14. Jaco Visagie (38, 5)
  15. Lizo Gqoboka (45, 15)

Replacements:

  1. Johan Grobbelaar (1, 0)
  2. Simphiwe Matanzima (8, 0)
  3. Wiehan Herbst (41, 0)
  4. Thembelani Bholi (35, 5)
  5. Paul Schoeman (26, 35)
  6. Embrose Papier (18, 5)
  7. Manie Libbok (11, 28)
  8. Divan Rossouw (18, 15)