Baby Boks key to Bulls plans
Key figures in South Africa’s World Champion under-20 squad will be part of the Vodacom Bulls plans for the 2013 season, with a number of Baby Boks named in an extended 53-man squad on Tuesday.
IRB Junior Player of the year Jan Serfontein, fellow nominee Shaun Adendorff and their teammates SA u20 captain Wiaan Liebenberg, William Small-Smith, Marvin Orie and of course schoolboy flyhalf Handre Pollard were all named in the squad, which also includes no fewer than 19 Springbok players.
Other than the notable loss of CJ Stander to Munster, the Bulls will welcome Wynand Olivier back from Japan for the Super Rugby season, while also confirming MTN Lions players Lionel Mapoe and Callie Visagie on loan for the tournament.
Other signings also include Toyota Cheetahs prop Marcel van der Merwe, and former Lions Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse and Rudy Paige.
Hattingh and Paige joined the Bulls in the Absa Currie Cup season. Van der Merwe will miss most of the Super Rugby competition through injury though, as he tore ligaments in his knee and will be out of action until June.
Pierre Spies has been confirmed as the captain, while a host of top schoolboy players, including Daniel and Jesse Kriel, Pollard, Corne Cooper and the impressive Rohan Janse van Rensburg will all train with the Bulls Super Rugby side.
But the real question is how much time these young players will get, although coach Frans Ludeke did indicate he was looking to bring a number of them through to the senior ranks.
“The key area that we have to look at is to make sure there is clear communication to keep the youngsters motivated and to give them exposure at the right time. That is why we extended our squad. We can put a good balance between the younger and older players, between youth and experience,” Ludeke said.
The Vodacom Bulls wider training group roster for 2013 is:
Akona Ndungane*, Arno Botha*, Basil Short, Bjorn Basson*, Bongi Mbonambi, Callie Visagie, Chiliboy Ralepelle*, Clayton Blommetjies, Corne Cooper (schoolboy), Cornell Hess, Dawie Steyn, Daniel Kriel (schoolboy), Dean Greyling*, Deon Stegmann*, Dewald Potgieter*, Flip van der Merwe*, Francois Hougaard*, Francois Venter, Frik Kirsten, Grant Hattingh, Handrè Pollard (schoolboy), Hencus van Wyk, Jan Serfontein, Jano Vermaak*, Jacques Potgieter*, Jacques du Plessis, Jean Cook, Jesse Kriel (schoolboy), JJ Engelbrecht*, Juandrè Kruger*, Jürgen Visser, Juan Schoeman, Lionel Mapoe*, Lohan Jacobs, Louis Fouchè, Marcel van der Merwe, Marvin Orie, Mike Williams, Mornè Mellett, Mornè Steyn*, Paul Willemse, Pierre Spies*, Rohan Janse van Rensburg (schoolboy), Ruan Snyman, Rudy Paige, Sampie Mastriet, Schalk van Heerden, Shaun Adendorff, Tiaan Schoeman, Tony Jantjies, Travis Ismaiel, Ulrich Beyers, Werner Kruger*, Wiaan Liebenberg, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Willie Wepener, William Small-Smith, Wynand Olivier*, Zane Kirchner*