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Rugby | SA Rugby

Callie heads to the Bulls



MTN Lions hooker Callie Visagie has become the latest player to leave the union on a loan agreement and will play for the Vodacom Bulls in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Visagie’s agent Eduard Kelder confirmed the move and that Visagie had agreed to extend his contract with the Lions for the next year.

Visagie will rejoin the Lions two weeks before their promotion-relegation match.

But while the move has increased the depth at the Bulls, there are serious question marks as to why they need another hooker? With Springbok Chiliboy Ralepelle and Willie Wepener their main two hookers, and SA under-20 hooker Bongi Mbonambi as back up, it is a strange move on behalf of the team.

Lions Ceo Ruben Moggee said a week ago when talking about the release of players they would only loan out players if they are part of a match 22 and not as part of an extended squad.

“We have to make sure the player is comfortable with any move. The other factor is to make sure he is in the starting 22 and to ensure the player brings some experience of a Super Rugby campaign back with him.

"We’re not going to send our players to be part of an extended squad or be on the bench the whole time, they will need to get game time,” Moggee explained.

“If he isn’t part of the setup then we feel we have good enough rugby to play here at the Lions next year.”

With this in mind, it means that Visagie is likely to leapfrog both Wepener and Mbonambi and be part of the match 22, which is an interesting message to send to the other hookers in the squad.

While Wepener is a veteran, Mbonambi made his Super Rugby debut this year and is widely seen as one of the stars of the future. It also doesn’t send a good message out in terms of promoting top young talent, especially players of colour.

The Bulls are set to lose former SA schools star Andile Jho, who has spent a frustrating season without much game time.

The Bulls also lost Kenyan-born Daniel Adongo earlier in the season after he became frustrated and left for Counties-Manakau in New Zealand after failing to get any game time at the Bulls. Adongo has been one of the stars for Counties in the ITM Cup.

Then there are others such as SA Sevens speedster Sampie Mastriet, who has had only one appearance this Currie Cup season in which he scored a try.

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