VODACOM URC: Few changes for Vodacom Bulls ahead of Glasgow Warriors clash

James Verity-Amm will earn a starting berth for the Vodacom Bulls when they take on Glasgow Warriors in a crucial Vodacom United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld tonight.

The Vodacom Bulls have made four changes to their backline for the clash in addition to a solitary personnel change in the forwards pack.

Verity-Amm, who has shown some fine form for the Tshwane-based side in the domestic Carling Currie Cup, has received an opportunity to start on the right wing this weekend.

The young and talented Canan Moodie, who has proven himself as a solid outside back who featured on the wing so far this season, will show his versatility when he starts at fullback.

The Vodacom Bulls will also have a changed half-back pairing which will see Zak Burger combining with the experienced Morne Steyn.

Hardman, Arno Botha, makes a return to the starting XV where he will do the No7 jersey.

A strong bench will see the return of Harold Vorster to action after missing last weekend’s game against Benetton Rugby, while Cyle Brink will be providing loose-forward cover.

“We have a tough task ahead of us this Friday,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White.

“Despite their defeat to the DHL Stormers last week, Glasgow Warriors are a formidable side that we expect will bring a huge challenge for us. They are a well-coached group with several highly talented internationals in their squad.

“We will need to be alert and be at our best for the entire 80 minutes.”

The match between the Vodacom Bulls and Glasgow Warriors will kick off at 19h00 and it will be televised on SuperSport.

Tickets for the match are available from R25 on www.ticketpros.co.za and at the Loftus Versfeld ticket office. Entertainment on the day will include pre-match social drinks at Blu Bar behind the Eastern Stand, opening at 16h00, and an afterparty in Castle Corner featuring the mysterious DJ Paradox.

 

The Vodacom Bulls team to face Glasgow Warriors is:

STARTERS (15-1): Canan Moodie (Pretoria), James Verity-Amm (Pretoria), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos), Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Zak Burger (Tuine); Elrigh Louw (UP Tuks), Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Marcell Coetzee (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Betway Centurion), Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).

IMPACT (16-23): Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Pretoria), Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Dylan Smith (Tuine), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), Cyle Brink (Betway Centurion), Embrose Papier (UP Tuks), Chris Smith (Harlequins), Harold Vorster (Northam Rhinos).

VODACOM URC: Vodacom Bulls expect confident Benetton team at Loftus, says Burger

Benetton Rugby will come to Loftus Versfeld full of confidence when they take on the Vodacom Bulls in a Vodacom United Rugby Championship Round 16 match on Saturday.

Not only did the side from Treviso get one over their Tshwane-based opponents when they squared up in the final of the Rainbow Cup last year, but a number of their players were involved when the Italy national side recently claimed a historic victory over Wales in the Six Nations this year.

Vodacom Bulls scrumhalf, Zak Burger, is wary of the dangers posed by the Italian side and expects a challenging battle when the two teams meet at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon.

“Going up against Benetton, we know that they are a good team. They won the Rainbow Cup last year and they have all of their international players back now from the Six Nations,” said Burger ahead of the weekend’s clash.

“So, we know that it is going to be a very hard match and we know that we are going to have to be really clinical and take our chances whenever they are presented to us.

“In this Benetton team, there are about 12 players that were in that Italy team that beat Wales in Cardiff. They are obviously full of confidence now after winning that game. I really think that it’s going to be a very hard battle for us this coming Saturday.”

The 23-year-old scrum-half has made some weighty contributions to the Vodacom Bulls team this season.

He is pleased with both his personal improvement and the strides his team has been making since the start of the Vodacom URC season.

Burger further added that there were lessons he and the Vodacom Bulls troops learned from their most recent match – a narrow defeat to the DHL Stormers a fortnight ago.

“What we took out from our previous game is that we were not clinical enough,” shared the nippy halfback.

“Games like that are like a test match and you have to take your chances whenever you get them. On that day we did not take enough of our chances. We have to be clinical this weekend against a good Benetton side.”

The Vodacom Bulls will announce their team for the weekend on Friday.

The match will kick off at 14h00 and it will be televised on SuperSport.

Loftus Versfeld will be a hive of activity with children under the age of 18 being allowed to enter the stadium for free. Tickets for children will be collectible at the stadium entry gates. Adults can purchase their tickets for as little as R25 per ticket.

There will be plenty of entertainment on the day with a kiddies area on the D-field and a beer garden for adults.

Rugby fanatics can also look forward to a curtain-raiser match that will signal the start of the 2021 Women’s Premier Division competition when the Blue Bulls Women take on Border Ladies at 11h40.

There will also be an afterparty at the beer garden with entertainment from popular Jacaranda FM DJs Mack Rapapali and Thabiso Khambule aka Lallie.

VODACOM URC: Extensive preparations for Vodacom Bulls ahead of Benetton clash

The Vodacom Bulls will not be going into unchartered territory when they welcome the Italian side, Benetton Rugby, at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The opposition will be familiar as the first European side the Tshwane-based outfit faced overseas when the two sides met in the Rainbow Cup final last year. It was the Italians that claimed the bragging rights with a 35-8 win in Treviso.

With the experience of having measured themselves against the Italian side that boasts several international players, and on the back of a 19-17 defeat to the DHL Stormers a fortnight ago, the Vodacom Bulls have been working hard this week in preparation for the expected tough battle against Benetton Rugby this weekend.

“We know exactly what we need to fix for our match against Benetton after our last match against the DHL Stormers. We will be well-prepared for them,” said Vodacom Bulls breakdown coach, Nollis Marais, ahead of the game.

The Vodacom Bulls have learned several lessons since the June 19, 2021, Rainbow Cup final match and have since developed as a team, seeing gradual improvements in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship over the past few months.

“For two years we played local sides, where we saw the same picture every week at the breakdown, attack, and all other areas,” said Marais.

“Then we played in the Rainbow Cup, it was the first time we played overseas, and that brought us a totally different picture about the breakdown and what we were used to.

“That is when we realised that it didn’t matter what level we thought we were in terms of the breakdown and other aspects, we were a bit behind the European sides. We needed to adapt very quickly.”

Marais believes the side can be satisfied with the strides the team has made which sees them knocking on the door of a spot in the Vodacom URC playoffs.

“At one stage we were not that good with ball carries, and we are now one of the top sides, it’s getting better. The breakdown is getting better, and I think that is an area we made a huge step up from the beginning of the Vodacom URC.”

The Vodacom Bulls will look to be in top form when they take on a Benetton Rugby side that has shown their capabilities with some good wins this season which includes the scalps of the DHL Stormers, Edinburgh Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, and Zebre Parma.

The match will kick off at 14h00 on Saturday and it will be televised on SuperSport.

#Loftus25K R25 tickets for Vodacom Bulls v Ulster clash at Loftus

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, was summoned to the CEO’s office on Tuesday morning after committing to a ticket price drop for his side’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against Irish giants, Ulster Rugby, at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday… and he was given a pat on the back.

“This is unheard of. Where in the world have you seen a premier match between two sides which so much history and accolades opening their stadium at such low ticket prices,” was Vodacom Bulls CEO, Edgar Rathbone’s response to the news that broke in the early hours of Tuesday.

This is after White, in a live radio interview with Martin Bester on Jacaranda FM’s breakfast show, committed to lowering ticket prices for the game to start at R25 for the match.

“We are hoping to get a big crowd. The government has given us the go-ahead to open up to 50% of the capacity, which is 25 000 for us at Loftus. Hopefully, we will try to get those numbers up this weekend,” White initially shared.

“Let’s make sure that we get 25 000 people at Loftus. I’m committing that we’ll make it start from R25 a ticket, and we are hoping that all the schools, clubs, and supporters of rugby in the area will come.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd back. I don’t see a reason why this cannot be achieved. I’ve met a lot of Vodacom Bulls supporters who have been saying they want to come to watch the team. I’m sure this will be a great initiative. If we can get 25 000 at the stadium, it will just show how much we love our rugby.”

Rathbone did not give White his marching orders for the commitment but instead supported the director of rugby’s decision to offer supporters, who have been starved of live rugby for two years, an opportunity of a lifetime.

“This is the least we can offer our supporters who have stood by us for a long time. We at the Vodacom Bulls back the decision made by Coach Jake White in an effort to get fans back in their numbers at our sporting venues.

“We are looking forward to seeing the Loftus faithful flocking the stadium this Saturday and witnessing top quality rugby in a premier competition like the Vodacom URC.”

Should the target of 25 000 be met on Saturday, this will be a record match attendance figure in the Vodacom URC this season. The highest attendance figure in the competition this season after the Vodacom Bulls’ visit to Aviva Stadium last September, where just over 19 000 spectators were in attendance.

 

VODACOM URC: Botha, Mapoe back in Vodacom Bulls starting XV for fiery Dragons clash

The Vodacom Bulls have made three changes to their team that will face the Dragons in a Vodacom United Rugby Championship Round 14 encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.

The Tshwane-based side will square up against the visiting side that has been bolstered by the return of some of their international players who have recently been on duty with the Welsh side at the Six Nations.

Dragons were, on their trip to South Africa earlier in the week, joined by Wales trio Ben Carter, Leon Brown, and Rhodri Williams.

The Vodacom Bulls, who have claimed crucial victories in their previous two Vodacom URC games against visiting teams at Loftus – a 29-24 win over Munster Rugby a fortnight ago, and a 57-12 win against Scarlets last week – will be hoping to make it three consecutive wins at home, and four on the trot after also beating Zebre Rugby 7-45 in Italy last month.

Marcell Coetzee will once again lead his charges this week in a match the Vodacom Bulls expect to a testing encounter.

The home team will see the return of Arno Botha to the starting XV, where he will start at No8, replacing Elrigh Louw.

In the backline, Embrose Papier will start at scrumhalf, with Zak Burger providing cover from the bench, while Lionel Mapoe returns to the outside centre where he replaces Cornal Hendricks, who will come on from the bench this week.

“This week we are up against a Dragons side that has welcomed back at least three of their internationals from Welsh duty, so that is a reflection of the strong team we will be facing,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, ahead of the game.

“This is a side that is well-coached and has shown how dangerous they can be. They will be motivated to do well and begin their tour of South Africa on a positive note. We will need to be at our very best if we intend to stop this side that can pose a real challenge.”

The match will kick off at 19h15 and it will be televised on SuperSport.

The Vodacom Bulls to take on Dragons is:

STARTERS (15-1): Kurt-Lee Arendse (Betway Centurion), Canan Moodie (Pretoria), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), Harold Vorster (Northam Rhinos), Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), Chris Smith (Harlequins), Embrose Papier (UP Tuks); Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Cyle Brink (Betway Centurion), Marcell Coetzee (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Betway Centurion), Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).

IMPACT (16-23):
Joe van Zyl (Harlequins), Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion), Reinhardt Ludwig (UP Tuks), WJ Steenkamp (Tuine); Zak Burger (Tuine), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos)

VODACOM URC: Vodacom Bulls wary of Dragons’ international returnees

With the possibility of unleashing their international players who were recently on national duty for Wales, the Dragons are expected to provide a tough challenge for the Vodacom Bulls when the two sides meet at Loftus Versfeld in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship encounter on Saturday night.

Following the conclusion of the Six Nations, the Welsh side will have their internationals available for selection, and this will be a welcomed boost for the visitors who have had some close and good performances so far this season.

Among their most memorable fixtures so far this season will be their 22-35 away win over Connacht, their 13-all draw against Benetton, alongside some close defeats to some outstanding sides which include a 6-7 loss to Leinster and a 23-27 defeat in their Welsh derby against Ospreys.

“The Dragons have put up some good performances – one against Ulster (a 0-12 defeat), where they were very good in that game. They were outstanding against Leinster the week after we played them, then they slipped up against Munster (a 64-3 defeat on March 5),” said Vodacom Bulls’ forwards’ coach, Russell Winter, ahead of the weekend’s game.

“They can be very unpredictable, and we don’t want to be complaisant at all. We are preparing as normal, trying to make sure that we are ready.

“We don’t want to slip up against them. They will have their international players back after the weekend. We know that their Welsh side lost against Italy, but I’m sure that those guys are really good players.

“The Welsh are passionate rugby players and supporters. They will come here wanting to play very well. We are going to have to make sure that we don’t become complaisant in any way or form.”

Despite having managed to secure back-to-back wins against Munster Rugby and Scarlets in the previous Vodacom URC matches, the Vodacom Bulls are expecting a tough contest this week against the visiting Welsh side.

A brutal battle is expected from the two forward packs who have both shown their capabilities so far this season.

“We have a lot of respect for the overseas sides, it must be said,” Winter emphasised.

“I know their coach, Dean Ryan, who was at Newcastle, where I also played. He is a tough man and I assume he is a tough coach as well. So, that pack will be a hardened pack, and they will definitely come at us, there is no doubt in my mind.

“We are expecting a tough game on Saturday. We know that their pack will be up for it. They are a big pack as well, so we are expecting a big battle up front.”

The Vodacom Bulls will announce their team to play the Dragons on Friday.

The match will kick off at 19h15 on Saturday and will be televised on SuperSport.

CARLING CURRIE CUP: Gqoboka to lead exciting Vodacom Bulls team in Jukskei derby

Lizo Gqoboka will lead an exciting Vodacom Bulls side that will take on the Sigma Lions in a Carling Currie Cup clash in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The Vodacom Bulls on Tuesday announced a youthful team, with Gqoboka as the captain, that will travel south of the Jukskei for the domestic derby at Emirates Airline Park.

“We are very fortunate to have several players with great leadership qualities in the Vodacom Bulls squad, and Lizo has been one of those senior players who have always provided leadership in both the Carling Currie Cup and the Vodacom URC. We look forward to him, alongside Stedman Gans as vice-captain, leading this exciting team on Wednesday,” said Vodacom Bulls head coach, Gert Smal.

“We are pleased that we can give a few of our more youthful players an opportunity this week, be it in the starting lineup or on the bench.

“We do not doubt that we have a tough challenge ahead of us against a Sigma Lions team that will be motivated and will be tough opponents on Wednesday night. We will need to be at our best and will need to execute the plans we have been working hard on in the build-up to the match well.”

The match will kick off at 20h00 on Wednesday and will be televised on SuperSport.

The Vodacom Bulls team to face the Sigma Lions is:

STARTERS (15-1): David Kriel (Betway Centurion), Sibongile Novuka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Stedman Gans (Northam Rhinos), Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria), Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins), Juan Mostert
(Harlequins), Bernard van der Linde (Betway Centurion), Muller Uys (UP Tuks), Werner Gouws (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), WJ Steenkamp (Tuine), Reinhardt Ludwig (UP Tuks), Raynard Roets (UP Tuks), Robert Hunt (Harlequins), Schalk Erasmus (Tuine), Lizo Gqoboka (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle).

IMPACT (16-23): Joe van Zyl (Harlequins), Cebo Dlamini (Harlequins), Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion), Ruan Delport (Betway Centurion), Jaco Labuschagne (Pretoria), Keagan Johannes (UP Tuks), Morne Steyn (Tuine), James Verity-Amm (Pretoria).

 

Vodacom URC debut for Cyle Brink against Scarlets

Vodacom Bulls loose-forward, Cyle Brink, is set to make his Vodacom United Rugby Championship debut when his side takes on Welsh outfit, Scarlets Rugby, at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

The Vodacom Bulls will end what has been a demanding week of rugby with a visit from the Llanelli-based side, this on the back of a mid-week Carling Currie Cup win over Cell C Sharks on Wednesday and a historic Vodacom URC victory against Munster Rugby last Saturday.

The Tshwane-based side has made 10 changes to the team that was in action in the domestic match on Wednesday and four changes to the victorious team that was in action against Munster the past weekend.

“It has been a very busy week for us as a squad this week – playing three tough matches in a space of seven days in both the Vodacom URC and Carling Currie Cup,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, ahead of the game.

“Management of our playing personnel has been key this week. As a result, we have made a total of 10 changes to the team that was on duty on Wednesday night against the Cell C Sharks in the Carling Currie Cup.

“We have another tough match against a Scarlets team that has shown what a threat they can be I the Vodacom URC. We will need to be sharp and prepared to play an 80-minute game in what promises to be a highly competitive encounter.”

Some of the changes to the team from the match against Munster will see Canan Moodie earning a starting berth at wing, while Cornal Hendricks shifts to outside centre, where he will form a midfield pairing with Harold Vorster.

Zak Burger returns to the starting XV at scrumhalf, while in the forwards Brink will don the No7 jersey.

The match will kick-off at 19h10 on Friday, and it will be televised on SuperSport.

 

Vodacom Bulls team to face Scarlets

STARTERS (15-1): Kurt-Lee Arendse (Betway Centurion), Canan Moodie (Pretoria), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos), Harold Vorster (Northam Rhinos), Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), Chris Smith (Harlequins), Zak Burger (Tuine); Elrigh Louw (UP Tuks), Cyle Brink (Betway Centurion), Marcell Coetzee (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Tuine), Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).

IMPACT (16-23): Joe van Zyl (Harlequins), Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Robert Hunt (Harlequins), Reinhardt Ludwig (UP Tuks), Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle); Keagan Johannes (UP Tuks), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria).

Arno Botha to lead Vodacom Bulls against Cell C Sharks

The Vodacom Bulls are expecting a tough Carling Currie Cup contest when they face the Cell C Sharks in a crucial match at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday night.

Vodacom Bulls head coach, Gert Smal, has made a handful of changes to the team that made a successful trip to Kimberley a week and a half ago, where they claimed an important 27-53 win against Tafel Lager Griquas.

Cyle Brink will make a return to the Vodacom Bulls side after recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained in the opening match of the Carling Currie Cup season earlier in the year. He will start in the No6 jersey alongside loose trio partners Arno Botha, who will captain the side, and WJ Steenkamp.

Kowie Roos, who made his Vodacom Bulls and Carling Currie Cup debut off the bench in Kimberley, has earned himself a starting berth at tighthead prop, where he will buckle down alongside Lizo Gqoboka at loosehead prop and hooker, Schalk Erasmus.

Morne Steyn will earn a starting berth at flyhalf where he will form a halfback pairing with Keagan Johannes, who will start at No9.

The Vodacom Bulls are bracing themselves for a bruising battle against an unbeaten Cell C Sharks team that claimed a 10-24 win over Airlink Pumas in their previous outing.

“The Cell C Sharks, alongside the Toyota Cheetahs, remain the only teams to have won all four of their matches so far. It goes to show how much of a quality side they are and that they are strong contenders, once again, for the Carling Currie Cup title,” said Smal.

“There will be no room for error against a side that will punish us if we are not clinical. We will therefore need to be at our best if we want to get back to winning ways at Loftus Versfeld.”

The match between the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks will kick off at 20h00, and it will be televised on SuperSport.

The Vodacom Bulls team to face Cell C Sharks is:

STARTERS (15-1): Kurt-Lee Arendse (Betway Centurion), Canan Moodie (Pretoria), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), Harold Vorster (Northam Rhinos), Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Keagan Johannes (UP Tuks); WJ Steenkamp (Tuine), Arno Botha (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Cyle Brink (Betway Centurion), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), Walt Steenkamp (Tuine), Kowie Roos (Pretoria), Schalk Erasmus (Tuine), Lizo Gqoboka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).

IMPACT (16-23): Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Elrigh Louw (UP Tuks); Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria), Chris Smith (Harlequins), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos).

 

 

VODACOM URC: Vodacom Bulls name unchanged starting XV for Munster Rugby clash

The Vodacom Bulls have opted for consistency ahead of their Vodacom United Rugby Challenge encounter against Irish side, Munster Rugby, at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, has made no changes to his side’s starting XV for the match, opting to continue with the same team that impressed in the side’s 7-45 win against Zebre Parma in their previous Vodacom URC outing.

Veteran flyhalf, Morne Steyn, will make a return to the match-day squad as he provides cover from the bench after completing an initial three-week ban which was reduced to two weeks.

The Tshwane-based side has been hard at work this week in preparation for what they expect to be one of their toughest matches of the season so far.

Munster Rugby has shown some good form this season, winning eight of their eleven fixtures so far.

The Irish side will be on a high following a dominant 64-3 win over Welsh side, Dragons, in their most recent fixture a week ago.

“We have a tough challenge ahead of us this weekend against a quality outfit in Munster Rugby. They have been one of the standout sides in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship so far this season. To manage to claim a record of eight wins in their 11 matches is no small feat,” said White ahead of the game.

“Munster Rugby may be without some of their internationals this week, but they remain a strong side with other international players like Springbok World Cup winner, Damian de Allende, in their squad. This is a great opportunity for our players to test themselves against some of the best players in the world.”

The match will kick-off at 16h05 on Saturday, and it will be televised on SuperSport.

The Vodacom Bulls team to take on Munster Rugby is:

STARTERS (15-1): Kurt-Lee Arendse (Betway Centurion), Cornal Hendricks (Northam Rhinos), Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria), Harold Vorster (Northam Rhinos), Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria), Chris Smith (Harlequin), Embrose Papier (UP Tuks); Elrigh Louw (UP Tuks), Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Marcell Coetzee (CAPT, ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Walt Steenkamp (Tuine), Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine), Johan Grobbelaar (UP Tuks), Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle).

IMPACT (16-23): Bismarck du Plessis (Betway Centurion), Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle), Robert Hunt (Harlequin), Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria), WJ Steenkamp (Tuine), Zak Burger (Tuine), Morne Steyn (Tuine), Canan Moodie (Pretoria)