#BullsFamily welcomes Jake White

The Blue Bulls Company are excited to confirm that Jake White has signed on as Director of Rugby and will be officially joining the #BullsFamily effective immediately until the 2023 World Cup.

The former Springbok coach and Rugby World Cup winner assumes the position vacated by Alan Zondagh, who stepped down earlier this year.

White has recently been coaching the Toyota Verblitz in Japan and joins the Vodacom Bulls with over four decades of coaching experience stretching back to the early 1980s. His global experience at the highest levels, particularly in Vodacom Super Rugby as the former head coach of both the Cell C Sharks and Brumbies, will benefit the Vodacom Bulls as they continue to add to their resources.

Blue Bulls Company CEO, Alfonso Meyer, shared his sentiments on White’s impending arrival.

“We are extremely excited with Jake’s decision to join us. His credentials speak for itself and we know his contributions are only going to improve our rugby across the board. Jake’s appointment is yet another step in the right direction as we endeavour to take this brand into a new era. We wish him well in his new role,” said Meyer.

White expressed his eagerness at getting the ball rolling, “The Vodacom Bulls brand has always been a powerhouse in rugby, and respected around the world. There’s a great history and heritage here, and I’m looking forward to adding my contribution to the Bulls’ legacy. The shareholders, Remgro, Patrice Motsepe and the BBRU, together with the staff, have an amazing ambition to not only take the Bulls back to number one, but also re-invent and re-mould the face of rugby in this country.”

White is a straight forward man, and didn’t sugar coat the need to start winning, “We need to re-build a winning culture at Loftus, and that will no doubt bring the fans back to their beloved Loftus Versfeld. This won’t be easy, but we are up for it.”

The former Bok coach is also keen to do his bit to indirectly contribute to the national setup, “It’s no secret that our franchise rugby needs to be strong for the Boks to be strong. I’m looking forward to doing whatever it takes help keep them at number one.”

To view or download our Jake White infographic, click here.

2020 Super Rugby tournament suspended due to COVID-19

Following a SANZAAR Executive Committee (EXCO) teleconference in response to the announcement by the New Zealand Government that all returning travellers will have to self-isolate for 14 days, including Super Rugby players, SANZAAR believes it has no option but to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament after this weekend’s matches for the foreseeable future.

Five New Zealand teams play in the 15-team Super Rugby tournament and SANZAAR completely understands the directive issued by the New Zealand Government given concerns globally over the COVID-19 virus and the primary aim to reduce exposure and spread of the virus.

SANZAR CEO Andy Marinos stated, “the safety and welfare of the public, our players and other stakeholders is paramount and as previously stated we were always going to abide by government and health authority instructions on the issue of COVID-19 containment.”

“We are extremely disappointed for the players, our fans, broadcasters, and partners but given the complexity of our competition structure, and the multiple geographies that we cover, we have no other option but to align with such directives. We also believe it is time for all those players currently overseas to return home and to be with their families.”

“Our priority is, therefore, to ensure our players are within their homes territories from the end of this weekend. SANZAAR will also remain engaged with its stakeholders and will continue to explore avenues to see if we can keep the rugby product alive within our core markets, with the possibility to be in a position to resume the tournament if at all possible in future weeks. We have currently played seven rounds out of the 18 in the normal regular season”.

Furthermore, in another move on Saturday evening/Sunday morning the Round 7 Jaguares vs Highlanders Super Rugby fixture scheduled to be played at José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires on Saturday 14 March 2020, was cancelled in response to on-going player welfare concerns related to the COVID-19 virus. The decision came following concerns in response to the uncertainty created by the Highlanders Players and Management having to enter self-isolation upon return to New Zealand following the New Zealand governments recently announced travel restrictions.

As per SANZAAR Tournament Rules, the decision to cancel a match is made by the SANZAAR Executive Committee following consultation with key stakeholders.  Ultimately the decision is made to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants, but to also maintain the integrity of the sport.

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos stated: “SANZAAR does not take this decision lightly, but after consulting widely with key stakeholders, the SANZAAR Executive Committee has taken the necessary step to cancel the scheduled fixture with the players and team management health and welfare paramount. As stated previously while disappointed to be in this position our priority is to ensure the players currently overseas return home healthy and safely to be with their families.”

SANZAAR policy states that in the event of a match cancellation under such circumstances, the match will be officially declared a draw and both teams will receive 2 competition points.

SANZAAR will issue further information on Super Rugby 2020 and any potential rescheduled fixtures in the days ahead.

 

Loftus Versfeld set for AFGRI Prestige Schools Rugby Day

The AFGRI Prestige Schools Rugby Day will once again be hosted at Loftus Versfeld as some of the top rugby schools from around the country descend on the stadium on Saturday, 14 March 2020.

Stellenberg, Outeniqua and Paarl Gimnasium are the latest schools to take part in the tournament which is testament to how much the tournament has grown since its inception, while schools see it has an exercise to test their capabilities against strong opposition that they usually do not get to play against.

Werner de Beer, BBCo Recruitment Manager, is an avid advocate of the AFGRI Prestige Schools Day and is looking forward to welcoming the various schools to Loftus Versfeld.

“The AFGRI Prestige Schools Rugby Day has only grown from strength to strength and this year is expected to be bigger and better than 2019. Supporters can expect quality schoolboy rugby while watching the next generation of South African rugby’s superstars.”

The #BullsFamily are encouraged to support the schools while Zappas Loftus will be showing the Vodacom Bulls and Reds match. Kick-off is 10:15.

 

View The AFGRI Prestige Schools Rugby Day match schedule below or download it here.

 

Field 1

07:40 – Garsfontein vs Florida U13

08:30 – Midstream College vs Ellisras U13

09:20 – St. Alban’s College vs Kroonstad

10:40 – EG Jansen vs Invitational XV

12:00 – Lunch

13:20 – Garsfontein vs Kempton Park

14:40 – Ellisras vs Stellenberg

16:00 – Montana vs Die Anker

17:20 – Waterkloof vs Outeniqua

18:40 – HTS Middelburg vs Boland Landbou

20:00 – Pretoria Boys High vs Paarl Gimnasium

Field 2

08:00 – Montana U14A vs Die Anker

09:00 – Montana U15A vs Die Anker

10:00 – Montana 2nds vs Die Anker

11:20 – Montana U16A vs Die Anker

12:30 – Waterkloof U14A vs EG Jansen

13:30 – Waterkloof U15A vs EG Jansen

14:30 – Waterkloof U16A vs EG Jansen

15:30 – Waterkloof 2nds vs EG Jansen

16:30 – Waterkloof 4ths vs EG Jansen

Field 3

08:00 – Montana 3rds vs Die Anker

09:00 – Montana U16B vs Die Anker

10:00 – Montana U14B vs Die Anker

11:00 – Montana U15B vs Die Anker

12:00 – Waterkloof U16B vs EG Jansen

13:00 – Montana 4ths vs Die Anker

14:00 – Waterkloof 3rds vs EG Jansen

15:00 – Waterkloof U14B vs EG Jansen

16:00 – Waterkloof U16B vs EG Jansen

Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool

14:00 – Affies vs Diamantveld

 

 

Vodacom Bulls squad named for Australasian tour

The Vodacom Bulls touring squad will depart for Australia later today as they embark on their four-week tour of Australasia.

Head coach Pote Human included the entire matchday team that beat the Highlanders last weekend except for Nafi Tuitavake with Franco Naude being named instead.

The additional players included are Dayan van der Westhuizen, Louis van der Westhuizen, Marco Jansen van Vuren and Burger Odendaal.

The Vodacom Bulls will spend two weeks in Australia where they will face the Reds and Waratahs in Brisbane and Sydney respectively before making the short trip to New Zealand to square off against the Hurricanes and Chiefs.

Human was optimistic about the tour after an emphatic 38-13 win against the Highlanders but warned against complacency.

“We needed that win to go on tour with our tails up. It has definitely boosted morale within our camp and the players are keen to build on that performance which is great because we are staring down the barrel of four matches against quality opposition with all four teams having won the competition before. We cannot afford to let our guard down, not even for a moment.”

Vodacom Bulls touring squad: Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka, Muller Uys, Josh Strauss, Marco van Staden, Ruan Nortje, Ian Groenewald, Corniel Els, Gerhard Steenekamp, Wiehahn Herbst, Ryno Pieterse, Ruan Steenkamp, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Louis van der Westhuizen, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Rosko Specman, Johnny Kotze, Franco Naude, Cornal Hendricks, Warrick Gelant, Ivan van Zyl, Morné Steyn, Divan Rossouw, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Burger Odendaal.

Tour fixtures:

  • 14 March – v Reds
  • 21 March – v Waratahs
  • 27 March – v Hurricanes
  • 4 April – v Chiefs

Uys and Groenewald on debut against Highlanders

Muller Uys and Ian Groenewald will both make their Vodacom Super Rugby debuts when the Vodacom Bulls host the Highlanders on Saturday, 7 March 2020.

Uys has more than proven his worth at junior level as the no.8 led the Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 to the SA Rugby U21 Championship final last year, where they put in an emphatic effort to beat his former team, DHL Western Province U21. Groenewald has seen a fair bit of rugby with his journey starting with FNB Maties while representing DHL Western Province and Tafel Lager Griquas domestically. The 28-year-old lock also represented the Italian club, Verona.

Big things are expected from these two players as they have impressed throughout training and warm-up matches, and now have the opportunity to stake a more permanent position within the Vodacom Bulls. Their inclusion at no.8 and lock respectively is two of three changes with Ruan Nortje slotting in as Groenewald’s lock partner.

Vodacom Bulls head coach, Pote Human, made one change to the backs as Manie Libbok gets his first start of the season with Morné Steyn shifting to the bench.

The other change to the bench allows Ryno Pieterse to potentially add to his cap and is expected to provide serious power if he takes the field.

Human was straightforward when it came to explaining his selection as the team is in desperate need of their first win of the season, but did crack a smile regarding Uys and Groenewald’s upcoming debuts.

“We need to do things a little different this week, we are in Round 6 and are yet to win. Tough choices had to be made and the players and I understand what needs to be done and accept the accountability thereof. There is no doubt that we have our backs against the wall and will need to deal with that pressure to restore the pride and belief of the Loftus faithful.

“Muller and Ian have been working hard so it is great to see them being rewarded. They are both intelligent rugby players who leave nothing on the field. Congratulations to both.”

Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Nafi Tuitavake, 12. Johnny Kotze, 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Embrose Papier, 8. Muller Uys, 7. Josh Strauss, 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Ian Groenewald, 3. Trevor Nyakane (C), 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16. Corniel Els, 17. Gerhard Steenekamp, 18. Wiehahn Herbst, 19. Ryno Pieterse, 20. Ruan Steenkamp, 21. Ivan van Zyl, 22. Morné Steyn, 23. Divan Rossouw.

 

Gelant marks 50th cap with Tuitavake set for Vodacom Bulls debut

World Cup champion, Warrick Gelant, will run out for his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap against a strong Jaguares outfit when the Vodacom Bulls host the Argentine team on Saturday, 29 February 2020. The high-flying fullback made his debut against the DHL Stormers back in 2016 and has scored 15 tries for the Pretoria based team.

 

Regular captain, Burger Odendaal, has been ruled out with an ankle injury which makes space for Tongan centre Nafi Tuitavake to make his Vodacom Bulls debut. The fleet-footed Tuitavake is no stranger to Vodacom Super Rugby as he amassed 20 caps for the Crusaders after making his tournament debut in 2014 before plying his trade in Europe for several seasons.

There is one change and two positional changes amongst the forwards with Marco van Staden packing down at openside flank while Jeandré Rudolph and Josh Strauss shift around the loose trio with Strauss slotting in at blindside flank and Rudolph donning the no.8 jumper.

The backline is tweaked slightly with Embrose Papier earning his first start of the season and Johnny Kotze moving to inside centre to make space for Tuitavake. The bench remains unchanged.

Vodacom Bulls captain, Trevor Nyakane, congratulated Gelant on his milestone and welcomed Tuitavake into the fold.

“The team could not be happier for Warrick. He is a quality player as evident by his World Cup medal but more than that he is a great person. His work ethic and smile are infectious and we are proud to call him a teammate.”

“It is a special occasion when any player pulls on a Vodacom Bulls jersey for the first time so we know Nafi is not only excited but also slightly nervous. It has been some time since he played in Vodacom Super Rugby but he has been explosive in training so we’re excited to see what Nafi brings to the table.”

Head coach, Pote Human, has drawn a line in the sand in terms of his expectations from the team come kick-off on Saturday. “Our backs could not be more against the wall at the moment. We have made improvements since the first match but we’re still not doing enough within 80 minutes. We need to get the result.”

Kick-off is 17:15.

Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Nafi Tuitavake, 12. Johnny Kotze, 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Embrose Papier, 8. Jeandré Rudolph, 7. Josh Strauss, 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Trevor Nyakane (C), 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16. Corniel Els, 17. Gerhard Steenekamp, 18. Wiehahn Herbst, 19. Ruan Nortje, 20. Ruan Steenkamp, 21. Ivan van Zyl, 22. Manie Libbok, 23. Divan Rossouw.

Visagie and Kotze go 50 up against Blues

Jaco Visagie and Johnny Kotze will both run out for their 50th Vodacom Super Rugby caps against the Blues when the Vodacom Bulls return to Loftus Versfeld for the first time this season on Saturday, 22 February.

Visagie made his tournament debut for the Vodacom Bulls back in 2015 and has proven to a regular fixture in any given matchday squad while Kotze made his debut in the colours of the DHL Stormers in 2015 before moving north.

Vodacom Bulls head coach, Pote Human, has selected a relatively unchanged team with Wian Vosloo the only new face in the starting lineup. He takes over the no.7 jumper from Abongile Nonkontwana.

The bench sees two changes with Corniel Els and Ruan Steenkamp making their first appearances this season. Els replaces the injured Johan Grobbelaar while Steenkamp takes Vosloo’s place on the bench.

Vodacom Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, was full of praise for his two teammates and their milestone.

“I’ve played with Jaco and Johnny for several seasons and they’re quality players who deserve this accolade. It’s not an easy feat to achieve 50 caps in Vodacom Super Rugby but their commitment and determination have been the cornerstone of their playing careers. The team already wants to claim a win for our loyal BullsFamily and now we have an added incentive.”

The men from Pretoria will be feeling the pressure as they are yet to register a win in 2020 but will take confidence in their ability as a unit and the fact that out of the nine matches played against the Blues at Loftus Versfeld, they have won six and drawn one.

A record the Vodacom Bulls would like to keep in the positive according to Human.

“We know that we need to win and have done our homework against the Blues with the bonus of a bye week assisting us. They remain a threat as always but if we can starve them of the ball and make our opportunities stick then that should be enough to secure a valuable win.”

Kick-off is 17:15.

Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Burger Odendaal (C), 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 8. Josh Strauss, 7. Wian Vosloo, 6. Jeandré Rudolph, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16. Corniel Els, 17. Gerhard Steenekamp, 18. Wiehahn Herbst, 19. Ruan Nortje, 20. Ruan Steenkamp, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Manie Libbok, 23. Divan Rossouw.

Emirates Lions XV v Vodacom Blue Bulls XV

The team for the Emirates Lions XV v Vodacom Blue Bulls XV 15 February 2020, Emirates Airline Park

Match day Squad:

  1. Richard Kriel
  2. Jade Stighling
  3. Nafi Tuitavake
  4. Dawid Kellerman
  5. Gerswin Mouton
  6. Chris Smith
  7. Marco Jansen van Vuren

8.Muller Uys

7.Jaco Labuschagne

  1. Ruan Steenkamp ©
  2. Ewan Coetzee
  3. Ryno Pieterse
  4. Mornay Smith
  5. Janco Uys
  6. Kudzwai Dube

Replacements:

  1. PJ Jacobs
  2. Dewald Donald
  3. Dayan van der Westhuizen
  4. Ian Groenewald
  5. Janko Swanepoel
  6. Adre Smith
  7. Carl Els
  8. Keagan Johannes
  9. Vaughen Isaacs
  10. Diego Appollis
  11. Marnus Potgieter

 

Vodacom Bulls reset for DHL Stormers

Rugby World Cup champion, Trevor Nyakane, has been named to start alongside fellow Springbok prop, Lizo Gqoboka, as the duo pick up their successful scrum partnership in Round 2 of Vodacom Super Rugby action against the DHL Stormers this coming Saturday.

Nyakane’s selection is the only change to the starting team with Wiehahn Herbst shifting to the bench.

Gerhard Steenekamp is set to make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut if he comes on as a replacement prop while Vodacom Bulls head coach, Pote Human, has opted for a 5/3 split amongst the replacements which makes room for utility back Divan Rossouw.

History does not favour the Vodacom Bulls in Cape Town as they last beat the DHL Stormers in the Mother City in 2011 but the team does take comfort in knowing how to unlock their opponents after last season’s 40-0 drubbing at Loftus Versfeld which was followed by a narrow one point loss in the return fixture.

Vodacom Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, explained how the players felt after their loss against the Cell C Sharks and added that although their confidence took a dip on their way back to Pretoria, it shot straight back up when the players returned to training.

“The players were extremely disappointed. There is no two ways about it as we let ourselves down especially considering that we were in it until the final minute. We have the manpower to beat any team and we will take that mindset into our second South African derby in as many weeks.”

Human was happy with his team’s discipline against the Cell C Sharks where they only conceded five penalties but added that this week’s preparations included serious conversations about finishing try-scoring opportunities.

“Our discipline was good on the night which allowed us to stay in the game but tries are our bread and butter and we cannot afford to fluff so many opportunities. Vodacom Super Rugby is extremely brutal so when the try line presents itself we need to take full advantage of it.”

Kick-off is 17:15.

Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Burger Odendaal (C), 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 8. Josh Strauss, 7. Abongile Nonkontwana, 6. Jeandré Rudolph, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16. Johan Grobbelaar, 17. Gerhard Steenekamp, 18. Wiehahn Herbst, 19. Ruan Nortje, 20. Wian Vosloo, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Manie Libbok, 23. Divan Rossouw.

 

BullsFamily bid farewell to Zondag

The #BullsFamily bid farewell to Alan Zondagh, director of Rugby at the end of January. He stepped down due to personal reasons and to enjoy more quality time with the family. His current role will not be immediately filled. The responsibilities of the role will be shared between head coach Pote Human and CEO Alfons Meyer.

Zondagh was appointed at the BBCo in January 2019, with the core vision of restructuring the High-Performance department at the BBCo. He has been a true servant of the game on a global stage dedicating the last 40 years of his life to this beautiful game.

Starting in the early 80’s as director of coaching for the Western Province Rugby Union, he moved on to head coach of Eastern Province and then returned to the WP as head coach in the 90s. He later travelled abroad coaching the London Scottish, before assuming the role of Director of Rugby at Saracens between 1999 and 2000. He thereafter became the performance director at the Rugby Performance Center between 2005 and 2017. Zondagh then pursued his own consultancy for the next few years before accepting his role at Loftus.

Even though he will still be involved in assisting with rugby projects at the BBCo, he is looking forward to stepping back and taking some time to enjoy with his family.

“My time in rugby wasn’t about a career or job,” Zondagh stated, “it was truly a way of life for me. Once the #BullsFamily gets into your blood, you can never leave it behind, so as much as I look forward to enjoying a bit of relaxation, I’m also keen to get stuck into a few projects assisting the team.”

Alfons Meyer, CEO of the BBCo, heaped praise on Zondagh’s achievements at Loftus, “Alan is a true gentleman of the game, and we were privileged to have a man of his abilities to be part of our system. He has played a massive role in the stabilization of the organization and for that we are eternally grateful. We wish him all the best with the part that lies ahead.”