In a bold and exciting move to help synergise and foster better relationships with the rugby clubs in Pretoria, Vodacom Bulls contracted players were allocated to the Carlton League clubs via a draft system, similar to the one used in the NFL. No less than 11 players will make their Carlton league debut on Saturday, 8 May 2021, when the 2021 Carlton League season kicks off. For the first time in more than a decade, professional players from the Vodacom Bulls will be in action at club level.
- ABE Midas Naka Bulls: Werner Gouws, Diego Appollis, Jay-Cee Nel
- Harlequins Rugby Club: Henco Beukes, Mhleli Dlamini (Giraffe)
- Centurion Rugby Club: Bernard van der Linde
- Tuine Rugby Club: WJ Steenkamp, Janco Uys, Richard Kriel, Schalk Erasmus
- Pretoria Rugby Club: Dawid Kellerman
According to Willem Strauss, President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, making club rugby relevant and growing the game at the community level is as important as winning trophies.
“In the last three years we have implemented several strategies and initiatives to make club rugby relevant again. We have aligned our professional and amateur structures to create pathways for club players to our professional under-20 and under-21 teams. No less than seven club players form part of the current professional under-20 squad. We also revived our iconic Loftus 200 team and expanded the Carlton League to include two more clubs. We also initiated an extremely successful Volcano under-20 league, which acted as a feeder source to numerous under 20 provincial teams in the country.”
“This initiative will connect local community rugby with the professional structures of the union again. I would like to thank our shareholders for their contribution towards the commercial requirements of the players. Without their support, this initiative would not have been possible.”
Jake White, Director of Rugby at the BBCo, said that to strengthen club structures, most of the players will be serving their clubs when not being selected for the week’s squad. Although they will not necessarily participate in club matches, players such as Duane Vermeulen, Trevor Nyakane, and Morné Steyn will be attending at least two social events at the relevant club.
White confirmed that he was part of a similar programme while at the Brumbies, “It is important that players associate with their local clubs. They must understand club structures and being part of club rugby. According to SARU’s Constitution, a player must be affiliated to a club to play provincial rugby.”
See below the complete list of affiliations:
CENTURION RUGBY CLUB: Gio Aplon, Bernard van der Linde, Mornay Smith, Travis Ismaiel, Nizaam Carr, David Kriel, Walt Steenkamp, Kurt-Lee Arendse
HARLEQUINS RUGBY CLUB: Duane Vermeulen, Mhleli Dlamini, Henco Beukes, Sintu Manjezi, Trevor Nyakane, Chris Smith, Stravino Jacobs, Joe van Zyl
NAKA BULLE: Werner Gouws, Diego Appollis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Arno Botha, Ruan Nortje, Lizo Gqoboka, Jay-Cee Nel, Gerhard Steenkamp
PRETORIA RUGBY CLUB: Janko Swanepoel, James Verity-Amm, Jan Uys, Jaco Labuschagne, Dawid Kellerman, Marco van Staden, Madosh Tambwe, Marco Jansen van Vuren
TUINE RUGBY CLUB: WJ Steenkamp, Richard Kriel, Janco Uys, Jacques van Rooyen, Morné Steyn, Schalk Erasmus, Ivan van Zyl, Zak Burger
TUKKIES: Clinton Swart, Marnus Potgieter, Muller Uys, Keagan Johannes, Embrose Papier, Elrigh Louw, Johan Grobbelaar, Tim Agaba
NORTHAM RUGBY CLUB: Cornal Hendriks, Stedman Gans
The following fixtures will be played on Saturday, 8 May 2021 at 16:00:
- Naka Bulls vs Harlequin
- Centurion vs Northam
- Tuine vs Pretoria