BBRU appoint Interim President

BBRU appoint Interim President


Following the resignation of former BBRU president Gert Wessels, the BBRU today announced that Willem Strauss, Vice President for the past 4 years, has been appointed as the Interim President until November 2018.


He attended Sand du Plessis High School in Bloemfontein, and furthered his education at the University of the Free State. In 1991 at the tender age of 24 Strauss was appointed as Manager and Executive officer of the South-Eastern Transvaal Rugby Union (Mpumalanga Rugby Union). He held this position for eight years until 1999, elevating them from 22 to 5 on the South African provincial rugby rankings, creating a formidable team beating the likes of Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and Western Province in various Cup matches in the late 1990s. They also defeated Scotland and Wales in that time period. Strauss was also responsible for securing huge sponsorships from inter alia Sasol to assist in improving South-Eastern Rugby.


Between 1996 and 1999 he also filled the roll of Marketing Manager of the Northern Bulls Super12 franchise. He thereafter established his own promotion company that specializes in promoting rugby tournaments, events, incoming and outgoing tours of teams to inter alia Africa, Europe, USA, South America, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and Dubai.


He arranged a test between Samoa and the Springboks, which was the first ever by a private promoter. The @tlantic tournament which he was responsible for drew more than a 1000 school teams. He also played a leading role in establishing 7s rugby in South Africa, and in 2017 he promoted the tours of the SA Barbarians (club players) to the Czech Republic.


He is married to Elmarie Strauss and has four children, Hermias, Enan, Marlizca and Mishke, and is also the step-brother of the Springbok flyhalf, De Wet Ras.


The Blue Bulls Rugby Union and the Blue Bulls Company would like to congratulate him on being elected, and would like to wish him everything of the best in this new role.

Vodacom Bulls team to face Crusaders

Fifty up for Kriel as Agaba makes Vodacom Bulls debut

Springbok midfielder Jesse Kriel will play in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match and Springbok Sevens forward Tim Agaba in his first when the Vodacom Bulls takes on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.

Kriel debuted for the Vodacom Bulls in 2014 against the Melbourne Rebels and has been on the team sheet ever since.

Agaba, who won bronze at the Olympic Games and gold in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with the Springbok Sevens team, will start at no8 for the Vodacom Bulls in his debut in one of three changes to the starting team that were edged by the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend.

In the other, Embrose Papier is in the starting line-up for the first time, replacing the injured Andre Warner and Jason Jenkins comes in for RG Snyman at lock.

On the bench, Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell, included two new faces in Ivan van Zyl and Hendre Stassen, and recalled Frans van Wyk as the replacement tighthead. Van Zyl moved into the spot vacated by Papier and Stassen, who is also on debut, will take over from Jenkins as back-up lock.

Van Wyk replaces the suspended Conraad van Vuuren.

Coach Mitchell has a strong message to the team if they want to return victorious from Christchurch.

“To beat the Crusaders, you need to outwork them. That will not be easy, as they have a tremendous work ethic as a team. We are not on this journey to become a better team because it is easy, so we must be prepared to play for all 80 minutes and play every big moment to the best of our ability.”

Vodacom Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, pointed to his team’s desire to win and their attitude as guidelines to success in Christchurch, a venue the Vodacom Bulls have not been very successful in the past.

“We need the right attitude as that will drive our efforts. We have a saying that winning together is better than winning alone. This will require a massive team effort, but we can do it,” Odendaal said.


The Vodacom Bulls team (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (22, 35), Travis Ismaiel (32, 45), Jesse Kriel (49, 35), Burger Odendaal (c; 35, 15), Divan Rossouw (3, 10), Handre Pollard (35, 321), Embrose Papier (4, 0), Tim Agaba (0, 0), Hanro Liebenberg (22, 15), Roelof Smit (17, 5), Lood de Jager (54, 15), Jason Jenkins (30, 25), Trevor Nyakane (83, 15), Jaco Visagie (24, 5), Pierre Schoeman (28, 10). Replacements: Adriaan Strauss (147, 70), Lizo Gqoboka (30, 10), Frans van Wyk (5, 0), Hendre Stassen (0, 0), Marco van Staden (4, 0), Ivan van Zyl (6, 0), Manie Libbok (1, 0), Johnny Kotze (23, 15).


Fast Facts:

  • Adriaan Strauss will extend his South African record for Vodacom Super Rugby appearances to 148 when he takes to the field. He will also equal Victor Matfield’s record as the most capped South African Vodacom Super Rugby player.
  • Tim Agaba and Hendre Stassen will make their Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Super Rugby debuts when they take to the field.


Vodacom Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, is back in the starting line-up to face the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday after missing the previous two Vodacom Super Rugby clashes against the Emirates Lions and Reds due to injury.

He takes over the captaincy from Handré Pollard and the inside centre berth from Johnny Kotze for this match, the first of two the visitors will play in New Zealand.

Vodacom Bulls Head Coach, John Mitchell, made a number of changes to the team that came up short against the Reds in Brisbane, with the return of Odendaal the most significant.

Mitchell opted for Divan Rossouw on the left wing, where he replaces Duncan Matthews in the other change to the backline. Up front, Trevor Nyakane comes in for Frans van Wyk at tighthead and Thembelani Bholi is back at flank, with Hanro Liebenberg moving to no8 where he takes over from injured Nic de Jager.

De Jager had to return home due to a broken rib and his replacement, Tim Agaba, is bracketed as a replacement with Jason Jenkins, who played off the bench in Brisbane.

A final call on Jenkins, who has a niggle, will be make closer to the game and if he is ruled out, Agaba is due to make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls.

Mitchell also tweaked his finishers for this clash. Conraad van Vuuren is back on the bench in place of promoted Nyakane, while Manie Libbok is another potential debutant for the Vodacom Bulls. He comes in Marnitz Boshoff, while Kotze will cover the midfield and outside backs.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us playing the Chiefs in Hamilton,” said Mitchell, who represented Waikato as a player.

“They have been one of the leading teams in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition over the last couple of years and this is a massive step-up from where we were a year ago. We have definite plans on how to approach this match and how to try to beat the Chiefs. We will have to do a couple of things well to achieve that, including playing as a unit,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell was excited about the possible debut for Libbok. “Manie is such an exciting talent and I believe he will make an impact in this tournament.”

It will also be 50 up for Adriaan Strauss. The hooker will play in his 50th match for the Vodacom Bulls (97 for Toyota Cheetahs as well) and will extend his South African record for Vodacom Super Rugby appearances as a hooker to 147 when he takes to the field.

Odendaal was confident about the squad’s mental and physical approach.

“We are ready to go and show our abilities. For us to win here, our courage and determination will be tested, but knowing this squad and the way we are developing as a group, I have enough confidence to know that we will be very competitive on Friday.”

The team (with Vodacom Super Rugby caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (21, 30), Travis Ismaiel (31, 45), Jesse Kriel (48, 35), Burger Odendaal (c; 34, 15)), Divan Rossouw (2, 0), Handré Pollard (34, 308), Andre Warner (5, 5), Hanro Liebenberg (v/c; 21, 15), Thembelani Bholi (18, 5), Roelof Smit (16, 5), Lood de Jager (53, 15), RG Snyman (28, 10), Trevor Nyakane (82, 15), Jaco Visagie (23, 5), Pierre Schoeman (27, 10). Replacements: Adriaan Strauss (146, 70), Lizo Gqoboka (29, 10), Conraad van Vuuren (8, 0), Jason Jenkins (29, 25) /Tim Agaba (0, 0), Marco van Staden (3, 0), Embrose Papier (3, 0), Manie Libbok (0, 0), Johnny Kotze (22, 15).


Adriaan Strauss will play in his 50th match for the Vodacom Bulls (97 for Toyota Cheetahs as well) and will extend his South African record for Vodacom Super Rugby appearances as a hooker to 147.

Manie Libbok will make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls and in the competition when he takes to the field.

Tim Agaba will make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Vodacom Bulls and in the competition when he takes to the field.

In all, 10 players return to Hamilton after the Vodacom Bulls lost 28-12 in last year’s clash against the Chiefs. They are Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Burger Odendaal, Handre Pollard, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Pierre Schoeman and Adriaan Strauss.


Pollard to lead Vodacom Bulls in Brisbane battle

Pollard to lead Vodacom Bulls in Brisbane battle


Handré Pollard will lead the Vodacom Bulls from the flyhalf position when they take on the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.


Pollard took over the captaincy from injured Burger Odendaal last weekend in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Emirates Lions and will continue in that role as the regular captain only returned to training this week.


Pollard will start as pivot though, where he comes in for Marnitz Boshoff, after starting at centre against the Emirates Lions. Johnny Kotze will fill the vacancy left by Pollard at inside centre. Duncan Matthews will replace Kotze, who scored in both matches of the tournament so far on the left wing, while Warrick Gelant comes into the backline to start at fullback. He swops places with Divan Rossouw, who moves to the bench.


Up front, Vodacom Bulls Head Coach, John Mitchell, moved Nick de Jager to no8, with Hanro Liebenberg moving to the side of the scrum, in place of Thembelani Bholi, who drops out of the match 23 altogether. Jason Jenkins will take De Jager’s place on the bench. Jenkins will make his first appearance in this year’s competition when he takes to the field.

The coach also added Trevor Nyakane to the bench in place on Conraad van Vuuren.


“We have a long way to go still, but there are good fundamentals in place at this stage of the race. We have not played in Brisbane since 2013, so it will be a new experience for most of the team. That should create some energy, but I have no doubt that the importance of a good start to our tour will also perk up the players,” Mitchell said.


“We have done very well in certain areas of the game so far, but the reality is that our away record is poor. This is something we need to change if we want to become the team we want to be.”

Pollard was optimistic, despite the Reds chasing a second win in as many matches.

“We come into this match well prepared. The coaching staff can only do so much, it is also up to the players to execute and deliver. We have seen glimpses of what we can do; the challenge this week will be to deliver an all-round element to our game. We face a formidable opponent, but believe in who we are and what we can do as a squad.”

The team (with Super Rugby caps and points) is: Warrick Gelant (20; 25); Travis Ismaiel (30; 45), Jesse Kriel (47; 35), Johnny Kotze (21; 15), Duncan Matthews (5; 15), Handré Pollard (c, 33; 304), Andre Warner (4; 0), Nick de Jager (v/c, 20; 15), Hanro Liebenberg (20; 15), Roelof Smit (15; 5), Lood de Jager (52; 15), RG Snyman (27; 10), Frans van Wyk (4; 0), Jaco Visagie (22; 5), Pierre Schoeman (26, 10).  Replacements: Adriaan Strauss (145; 70), Lizo Gqoboka (28, 10), Trevor Nyakane (81; 15), Jason Jenkins (28; 25), Marco van Staden (2; 0), Embrose Papier (2; 0), Marnitz Boshoff (31; 246), Divan Rossouw (2; 0).


The Vodacom Bulls announced a 27-man touring squad for the Australasian leg of their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign, including 15 forwards and 12 backs. Head coach John Mitchell selected an exciting and well-balanced squad, that he firmly believes are the right men for the job.

The team will first travel to the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to take on the Queensland Reds, before heading to New Zealand to take on the Chiefs at the Waikato Stadium, with their final stop in Christchurch facing the mighty Crusaders.

The Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby touring squad 2018:

FORWARDS: Pierre Schoeman, Lizo Gqoboka, Trevor Nyakane, Conraad van Vuuren, Frans van Wyk, Jaco Visagie, Adriaan Strauss, Jason Jenkins, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Roelof Smit, Marco van Staden, Thembelani Bholi, Hanro Liebenberg, Nic de Jager

BACKS: Andre Warner, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok, Burger Odendaal (captain), Jesse Kriel, Johnny Kotze, Travis Imaiel, Divan Rossouw, Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews


Vodacom Bulls team to face DHL Stormers in Wellington

Snyman, Smit to start for Vodacom Bulls


Springboks RG Snyman and Roelof Smit will both start for the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday in Wellington when they face the DHL Stormers in a Vodacom Super Rugby friendly.


Snyman has returned from his club duties in Japan recently and Smit, who proved his fitness off the bench last weekend against the Cell C Sharks in Polokwane after an injury lay-off, will both be keen to make an early statement to Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell.


The duo represented the Springboks against the British Barbarians in 2016 in a match played in London and both could play significant roles in the Vodacom Bulls pack as Mitchell moulds his squad for the forthcoming Super Rugby tournament.


The coach made a number of rotational changes to the side that played the Cell C Sharks in Polokwane last weekend, with the halfback pairing of Andre Warner and Marnitz Boshoff starting and Embrose Papier and Manie Libbok reverting to the bench.


Only Divan Rossouw (fullback), the midfield pairing of Burger Odendaal and Johnny Kotze, Hanro Liebenberg (loose forward) and lock Ruben van Heerden has been retained from the starting team, with a host of players who came off the bench in Polokwane now getting a run-on opportunity in the Wellington clash.


“A number of players who did not start last weekend get a change to do so this week and will get some valuable game time under the belt,” Mitchell explained.


“We are still building towards the start of the competition and our performance will be work in progress towards that. We know we are playing against a very capable side, but that is the whole purpose of matches like these. There is nothing on offer, but so much to learn for both sides.”


Kick-off in Wellington is at 16h00.

The squad is: Divan Rossouw, Andell Loubser, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal (c), Duncan Matthews, Marnitz Boshoff, Andre Warner, Jano Venter, Hanro Liebenberg (v/c), Roelof Smit, RG Snyman, Ruben van Heerden, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka, Frans van Wyk, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Thembelani Bholi, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, JT Jackson, Dries Swanepoel, Jade Stighling, Franco Naude.

Vodacom Bulls team to face Cell C Sharks in Polkwane

Vodacom Bulls coach, John Mitchell, named an exciting 26 man squad for the trip to Polokwane, but has not included Lood de Jager, Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard or Warrick Gelant, who all toured with the Springboks to Europe in November.

There will also be a return to action for former Springbok captain, Adriaan Strauss. The hooker made a successful comeback to rugby for the Barbarians in November last year after a lay-off following the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium kicks off at 18h00 on Saturday.

The squad for Polokwane is: Divan Rossouw, Travis Ismaiel, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal (c), Jade Stighling, Manie Libbok, Embrose Papier, Hanro Liebenberg, Thembelani Bholi, Marco van Staden, Aston Fortuin, Ruben van Heerden, Frans van Wyk, Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman, Conraad van Vuuren, Eli Snyman, Jano Venter, Roelof Smit, Andre Warner, Marnitz Boshoff, Franco Naude, Jamba Ulengo, Duncan Matthews.


Vodacom Blue Bulls Team to Face Emirates Lions

Boom Prinsloo will lead the Vodacom Blue Bulls team that will travel to Johannesburg to face the Emirates Lions in a warm-up match at Emirates Airline Park that kicks-off at 15h00.

Coach David Manual included a number of players with Vodacom Super Rugby experience in the squad, including the likes of Ulrich Beyers, Dries Swanepoel, Abongile Nonkontwana and Edgar Marutlulle, but will also give playing opportunities to a number of exciting youngsters that excelled in the Vodacom Blue Bulls age group teams last year.

The squad to travel to Johannesburg is: Ulrich Beyers, Irvin Ali, Dries Swanepoel, Heino Bezuidenhout, Andell Loubser, Tony Jantjies, Ginter Smuts, Boom Prinsloo (c), Rickert Korff, Shaun Adendorff, Abongile Nonkontwana, Ewan Coetzee, Matthys Basson, Edgar Marutlulle, Dewald Maritz. Replacements: Nqoba Mxoli, John-Roy Jenkinson, Simphiwe Matanzima, Thomas Meyer, Pieter Diergaardt, Adre Smit, Oderich Mouton, Vaughen Isaacs, Lian du Toit, Garrick Matthews, Jerome Bossr, Christiaan Strydom, Earll Douwrie, Gareth Heidtmann.


Vodacom Bulls head coach, John Mitchell, on Monday named 38 players as well the leadership for the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season. The coach named midfielder, Burger Odendaal and loose forward, Nic de Jager, as co-captains.


The squad is made up out of 21 forwards and 17 backs, with 11 of those being Springboks and furthermore includes a host of Junior Springboks.  Springbok Sevens forward Tim Agaba has also been included and will join the squad after the Blitzboks return from tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton.


Only a handful of players do not have any Vodacom Super Rugby experience, among those outside back Divan Rossouw, midfielder JT Jackson, flyhalf Manie Libbok, scrumhalf Embrose Papier and lock Aston Fortuin.


The Vodacom Bulls will be involved in 2 warmup matches this weekend as they take on the Cell C Sharks in Polokwane on Saturday at 18h00, and the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg earlier at 15h00.

“We have made tremendous progress with our processes over the last couple of months and we will be ready for whatever comes our way during Super Rugby 2018,” said Mitchell


“I don’t want to make any promises on how the team will perform this year, we will be solely focussed on the process.  It’s about marginal gains for us, stacking good stuff on good stuff daily as we continue to ensure excellence.  It’s not about the end but rather the daily effort combined at the end.  Our purpose is to fill Loftus and put smiles on people’s faces.  We will be working very hard to achieve that.”


“I am confident that we have worked smartly and laid a solid foundation. This squad will develop and improve and one needs to be realistic about it, but we are all in agreement about the way forward.  We will be connected, we want to be respected and not just liked and therefore one of our main focus areas during this process will be to remain honest and never forget to enjoy it and have fun.  We want to serve our fans, supporters, shareholders and sponsors – we want to earn back their respect and get the Vodacom Bulls to bind us together as one.”


The Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby squad is:

Outside Backs: Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Travis Ismaiel, Jamba Ulengo, Jade Stighling, Divan Rossouw.

Midfielders: Burger Odendaal, JT Jackson, Francois Brummer, Jesse Kriel, Johnny Kotze

Flyhalves: Handre Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok

Halfbacks: Ivan van Zyl, Andre Warner, Embrose Papier

Loose Forwards: Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Hendre Stassen, Hanro Liebenberg, Jannes Kirsten, Nic de Jager, Tim Agaba.

Locks: Jason Jenkins, Ruben van Heerden, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Aston Fortuin.

Props: Pierre Schoeman, Conraad van Vuuren, Frans van Wyk, Matthys Basson, Lizo Gqoboka, Trevor Nyakane.

Hookers: Jaco Visagie, Adriaan Strauss, Edgar Marutlulle


NOTE: The BBCo would also like to confirm that we have parted ways with loose forward Jacques Potgieter after lengthy discussions on his future. Potgieter has decided not to partake in Vodacom Super Rugby during 2018, and rather take a sabbatical to focus on his family and spend time with his wife, boy and soon to be born twins.  We would like to sincerely thank him for his contributions to the team both on and off the field, and wish him well with his future endeavours. He will make an announcement later in the year regarding his future.


Official technical partner PUMA has unveiled the 2018 home kit for the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls, with a design in celebration of the Rugby Union’s 80 year anniversary.

PUMA has also designed a new badge, which will be positioned over the heart of the jersey and will see all the Union’s teams, from Vodacom Super Rugby all the way down to U19 Championship, play under the same badge for the first time. Giving rise to the mantra One Legacy, One Family, One Dream, One Badge, One Kit.

Paying homage to the original Bulls kit from 1938, the new outfit for Vodacom Super Rugby, Supersport Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup tournaments stays true to the blue and white strip in a two-tone manner with the front of the entire kit baring Bulls’ blue and the back a crisp white.

A 20180 graphic on the chest signifies the 80 years of heritage and will be communicated through the launch of the year-long “Our heritage drives our future” campaign, created to excite and engage with fans, consumers and customers through innovative activations as well as digital and retail executions.


View the campaign video here:


“We have drawn inspiration from this 80 year milestone and forged one badge, providing the #BullsFamily with a kit that will hopefully go down in history as a must have collector’s item for fans,” said PUMA Marketing Director Brett Bellinger.

CEO of the Blue Bulls Company, Barend van Graan: ‘PUMA have once again outdone themselves in producing an awe-inspiring kit for the new season. In 2018 we celebrate our 80th anniversary, and we will be looking to pay tribute to our proud heritage. We firmly believe PUMA has truly captured the essence, and are looking forward to running out in this timeless classic ”.

The Vodacom Bulls Home Jersey will hit stores 30 November 2017 for R799 at PUMA stores, Totalsports, The Cross Trainer, Sportsmans Warehouse and selected retailers nationwide.

#BullsFamily #20180


Community authored books made available to the public

The Dithakga tša Gobala project (2017), proudly sponsored by Vodacom, The Vodacom Blue Bulls, Puma, AFGRI and The Funanani Trust, today launched six wordless picturebooks which have been made available to the public, free of charge.

Wordless picturebooks are a genre of books that allow readers to use illustrations to create a story in a language of their choice. The genre allows for multiple stories can be sourced from each book, and the books are especially relevant for preschool children, who have yet to learn to decode print. In this way, the project hopes to foster a love of books, reading and storytelling regardless of literacy levels, language preference and age. Stories were sourced from parents and children in the Mamelodi community in Pretoria, and illustrated by South African illustrators and students. By sourcing stories from local communities, the project hopes to give parents and children a sense of ownership of the stories and books.

The project also wishes to make books available in South African homes. Books are an expensive luxury for many South Africans, yet, the importance of early childhood reading cannot be overstated. For this reason, the project has made both the print files, and an eBook version of each book available for download. A number of copies of the books will also be circulated to reading organisations and schools.

Shanil Mangaroo, Head of Marketing at the Vodacom Blue Bulls, expressed his sentiments on behalf of the team: “This is an amazing project, and is really close to our hearts. We believe it will create a perfect launch platform for those ‘little-ones’ starting to read, as well as give parents, that are unable to read, an opportunity to still bond with their kids over a book. We’re really looking forward to sitting down and listening to some of the stories, and enjoying the creative imaginations that this project will stimulate.”

Michelle van Eyden, Executive Head of Sponsorships at Vodacom said, “As proud sponsors of the Vodacom Blue Bulls Vodacom is very proud to be associated with the Dithakga tša Gobala project.  Vodacom is passionate about supporting education in our country and we believe that in supporting this initiative through our sponsorship of the Blue Bulls, we can make a difference in the lives of young South Africans and their families.

The art of storytelling plays a major role in African culture and we are excited to have had the opportunity to hear some of these tales today.  It is extremely rewarding to know that we had a hand in bringing this initiative to life.

The books are available for download, free of charge, at