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)



  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)



  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)


  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)

Loftus to turn green in support of SANParks

Loftus to turn green in support of SANParks

The Vodacom Bulls have teamed up with South African National Parks (SANParks) and Wild Card to create awareness about the extraordinary effort that SANParks rangers put in on a daily basis, as they protect our beautiful national parks around South Africa.  These unsung heroes will beng honoured at our next home Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Reds on Saturday, 13 April 2019.


The men from Pretoria will play in their green away strip, a design by our apparel sponsor PUMA that pays tribute to SANParks, and in so doing, will further drive home their commitment to what SANParks does as guardians of our heritage.


SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni says that support from one of the biggest sports teams in South Africa will go a long way in creating awareness for conservation and our men and women in green. “One of the biggest challenges to conservation in the 21st Century is wildlife crime and without the help of all people we will not halt the attack on our natural heritage. We are thankful to the Vodacom Bulls for joining the conservation effort to help conserve our natural heritage for future generations.”


Several SANParks rangers, or as we at Loftus Versfeld like to call them: superheroes, will be in attendance at the game and will also walk a lap of honour.


Vodacom Bulls captain, Handrè Pollard, stated, “This cause is close to the player’s hearts and that they will rise to occasion to honour our rangers who put their lives on the line to protect our heritage.”


“There is nothing better for South Africans to experience than to spend time at one of our many national parks and our enjoyment of this would not be possible without the excellent work that SANParks does.”


“We love playing in front of our supporters in the hallowed Vodacom Bulls jersey and we will have the privilege of facing the Reds with some of SANParks rangers in attendance which serves as extra motivation to play our best game.”


There will be activities for our loyal supporters to enjoy on the day and those that do attend are urged to wear their green Vodacom Bulls jersey, something green.


SANParks would not be able to do what they do without the generosity of the public with donations being able to be made on their website,, or by sending an SMS to 40401 at a cost of R20.

For Media Enquiries:
Ms Janine Raftopoulos
Head of Corporate Communications
South African National Parks (SANParks)
Tel: +27 (0)12 426 5170
Cell: +27(0)71 444 3121


Mr Shanil Mangaroo

Media & Communications

Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 0829
 +27 (0) 82 856 9548




Six Springboks back for Vodacom Bulls to face Reds

Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, named Springboks Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Marco van Staden and RG Snyman in his starting team to play the Reds at Loftus Versfeld and made wholesale changes to the side that dropped a close result against the Jaguares last weekend.

Gelant returns from injury and takes over from Divan Rossouw at fullback, with the latter dropping to the bench, while Kriel and Pollard return after sitting out due to World Cup protocols. They replace Dylan Sage and Manie Libbok, with the flyhalf moving back to the bench.

Van Staden and Snyman are back in the team for the first time in this season’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition, having missed the opening part due to injury. They replace Ruan Steenkamp and Eli Snyman, who both picked up injuries against the Jaguares.

Human rotated Van Zyl and Papier again, with Van Zyl starting for the third time this season. Duane Vermeulen is rested due to Bok protocols, allowing Paul ‘Tier’ Schoeman a first start this season at no 8.
Hanro Liebenberg swops places with Jannes Kirsten, with the latter moving to lock, while a fit-again Jaco Visagie will start at hooker. Corniel Els reverts to the bench.

On the bench, Roelof Smit makes a first appearance for the season having recovered from injury, while there is also a potential first appearance for prop Wiehan Herbst.

The front rower played for the Cell C Sharks earlier in his career, before moving to Ulster, from where he joined the Vodacom Bulls. He played the last of his 40 VSR matches in 2014.

The team (with VSR caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (38, 65), Johnny Kotze (37, 45), Jesse Kriel (67, 95), Burger Odendaal (47, 20), Jade Stighling (3, 5), Handré Pollard (c; 52, 535), Ivan van Zyl (24, 0), Paul Schoeman (25, 35), Hanro Liebenberg (35, 15), Marco van Staden (16, 10), RG Snyman (39, 10), Jannes Kirsten (23, 10), Trevor Nyakane (98, 15), Jaco Visagie (37, 5), Lizo Gqoboka (44, 10).


Replacements: Corniel Els (7, 0), Simphiwe Matanzima (7, 0), Wiehan Herbst (40, 0), Thembelani Bholi, (34, 5) Roelof Smit (25, 15), Embrose Papier (17, 5), Manie Libbok (11, 28), Divan Rossouw (17, 15).

#BULVJAG Match Preview: Vermeulen Handed Captaincy For Loftus Clash Against Jaguares

Vodacom Bulls coach Pote Human made several tweaks to his line-up for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby encounter against the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld, where the kick-off is 15h05.


Manie Libbok takes over the flyhalf duties from Handre Pollard, Johnny Kotze starts at right wing while the resting of Springbok centre Jesse Kriel allows Dylan Sage to take the No 13 jersey. Jade Stighling also gets a chance at left wing in rotation with Rosko Specman.


Up front, Jannes Kirsten will start in the No 7 jersey and Hanro Liebenberg moves to lock. Corniel Els replaces the suspended Schalk Brits at hooker while experienced Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen takes over the captaincy from Pollard, who is rested.


What they said:


Vodacom Bulls skipper Duane Vermeulen said: “We were way under-par when we last played them so we owe ourselves a proper performance against the Jaguares. The South African Conference is so tight that we cannot afford another slip-up at home.”




Vodacom Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hanro Liebenberg 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.


Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Cornal Hendricks.


Jaguares: TBA


Head to head:

Played: 5

Vodacom Bulls won: 2

Jaguares won: 3

Vodacom Bulls points: 116

Jaguares points: 157

Average score: 23-31


Match information:

Date: Saturday, 6 April

SA time: 15h05

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Brendon Pickerill

Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Mike Fraser

Television Match Official: Willie Vos

TV: SuperSport1




Corniel Els will make his first run-on appearance for the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday, when the home side takes on the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld at 15h05.

The hooker, who played all six Vodacom Super Rugby matches for the Vodacom Bulls off the bench, will replace Schalk Brits, who misses out due to suspension.

The 25-year old former Junior Springbok is one of seven changes to the starting team named by Head Coach, Pote Human, for the clash against the South Americans.

Handré Pollard and Jesse Kriel will be rested due to World Cup protocols and will be replaced by Manie Libbok and Dylan Sage respectively, with Duane Vermeulen taking over the captaincy.

Jade Stighling will also play in the starting team for the first time this year, taking over from Rosko Specman, with Johnny Kotze on the other wing and Cornal Hendricks dropping to the bench.

In a positional change, Hanro Liebenberg moves back to lock in place of Jason Jenkins, who has a niggle and was ruled out on Wednesday.

Jannes Kirsten will start at flank and his place on the bench will be taken by Thembelani Bholi.

There are more changes to the bench as well, where Jaco Visagie is due to make a first appearance in the tournament this season. Visagie is fit again following injury and will be keen to have a go. JT Jackson will cover as flyhalf and comes onto the bench.

Human said the squad prepared well and is keen to continue their winning momentum against a dangerous opponent.

“The Jaguares are very, very competitive and have shown that they can win away from home. We will be looking for some consistency in performance and we need to play better when at home, as we have some of the best home support in the competition. We have rested some players, but the new guys are all very keen to make a contribution and I expect a massive effort from all of them.”

For new Vodacom Bulls captain, Duane Vermeulen, the challenge will be as much coming from the opponents as themselves.

“We were way under par when we last played them so we owe ourselves a proper performance against the Jaguares. It is nothing personal, but we would love to get one over them this time. The South African conference is so tight, we cannot afford another slip-up at home.”

The team (with Super Rugby caps and points) is:
Divan Rossouw (16, 15), Johnny Kotze (36, 45), Dylan Sage (5, 0), Burger Odendaal (47, 20), Jade Stighling (2, 0), Manie Libbok (10, 13), Embrose Papier (16, 5), Duane Vermeulen (c; 115, 45), Jannes Kirsten (22, 10), Ruan Steenkamp (16, 0), Eli Snyman (5, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (34, 15), Trevor Nyakane (97, 15), Corniel Els (6, 0), Lizo Gqoboka (43, 10).


Replacements: Jaco Visagie (36, 5), Simphiwe Matanzima (6, 0), Conraad van Vuuren (18, 5), Thembelani Bholi (33, 5), Tim Agaba (4, 0), Ivan van Zyl (23, 0), JT Jackson (1, 0), Cornal Hendricks (32, 55).

More #Humanfactor Confirmed

The Blue Bulls Company are excited to confirm that Vodacom Super Rugby head coach Pote Human has extended his contract for another year, with an option to renew.


Human took the reins early this year after the resignation of John Michell late last year and has lead the Vodacom Bulls to four impressive victories from a total of six games in this year’s competition thus far.


Human, as always, is excited and keen to get on with the job: “It’s a massive honor to be entrusted with this role, especially knowing that I have the backing of the people around me. It’s been a good start thus far, and I firmly believe that we are heading in the right direction as a team. However, there is a long season ahead with lots of work to be done, and I am excited to get on with things. I’d also like to sincerely thank the BBCo for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.”


The BBCo are also pleased to confirm the signing of Ulster prop Wiehahn Herbst, welcoming the big prop to Loftus on Monday 1 April. The 31-year-old Klerksdorp High front row also played for the Sharks in Durban, racking up 40 Vodacom Super Rugby caps between 2009 and 2014. He then moved to Ulster where he spent the following six years.



Pollard Kicks Vodacom Bulls To Dramatic Win In Durban

The men from Pretoria led 6-3 at halftime in this seventh round Vodacom Super Rugby fixture.


Pollard’s crucial penalty was the difference between the two South African teams as the Vodacom Bulls completed a double of derby wins over their coastal rivals following their success earlier in the month at Loftus Versfeld.


Dan du Preez and Andre Esterhuizen were the try scorers for the home team while Jesse Kriel dotted down under the posts for the team in the blue jerseys following a solid set-piece movement.


With this victory the Vodacom Bulls moved to 17 log points and within just one point of the South Africa Conference leaders, the Emirates Lions, after playing six matches while the Durban outfit now trail the Highvelders by two.


The match was a typically tough South African derby, with the home team enjoying most of the territory and possession especially in the first half.


Despite those advantages the Durbanites still found themselves trailing 3-6 at the break following an exchange of penalties between Rob du Preez and Pollard.


In very pleasant coastal weather conditions, both teams made themselves guilty of numerous handling errors, leading to no tries being in the opening half.


Pote Human’s team however managed to wrestle themselves free from the home team’s defensive grip as the second half progressed. With the scores tied at 16-16 and just two minutes left to play on the clock, the Vodacom Bulls won the decisive penalty as reward for a powerful scrum, which allowed Pollard to easily slot the winning penalty from close range.


The two hookers, Akker van der Merwe (Cell C Sharks) and Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls) were red carded in the second half for a scuffle on the ground.


The the Vodacom Bull host the Jaguares at Loftus on Saturday (15h05).



Cell C Sharks 16 (3) – Tries: Dan du Preez, Andre Esterhuizen; Penalty goals: Rob du Preez (2).


Vodacom Bulls 19 (6) – Try: Jesse Kriel; Conversion: Handre Pollard; Penalty goals: Pollard (4).