The coach of the Vodacom Bulls, Frans Ludeke, has named a vastly experienced Super 14 group that includes Springboks such as Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Pierre Spies.
The Bulls website reports that Matfield is one of six players who have represented the Bulls in 65 or more Super Rugby matches with Du Preez, Botha, Rossouw, JP Nel and Pedrie Wannenburg the others, whilst Habana and Akona Ndungane are only one match shy of 50 caps.
The reliable fullback Tiger Mangweni, the new recruit Jaco Pretorius and the Namibian Jacques Burger are the only players in the squad who haven’t played Super 14 rugby for the Bulls, but Mangweni represented the Stormers was well as the Cheetahs in previous years, while Pretorius played quite a number of matches for the Lions.
The youngsters in the squad who have already played Super 14 rugby are Francois Hougaard, Burton Francis, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Stephan Dippenaar and Dean Greyling while the likes of Francois Brummer, Frik Kirsten, Okkie Kruger, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Stefan Watermeyer and Gerhard van den Heever will be keen to make their debut in 2009.
A standout feature of 2009′s squad is the versatility of the players with Habana, Spies, Rossouw, Wannenburg, Potgieter, Burger, Kruger, Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Marius Delport and Morné Steyn being able to play in more than one position. This flexibility is a massive asset and it surely will play a huge role especially when the team is touring Australasia.
Vodacom Bulls Super 14 squad:
Fullbacks: Zane Kirchner, Tiger Mangweni
Wings: Bryan Habana, Akona Ndungane, John Mametsa, Gerhard van der Heever
Centres: Wynand Olivier, JP Nel, Jaco Pretorius, Wayne Julies, Marius Delport, Stephan Dippenaar, Stefan Watermeyer
Flyhalves: Morné Steyn, Burton Francis, Francois Brummer
Scrumhalves: Fourie du Preez, Heini Adams, Francois Hougaard
Loose forwards: Pierre Spies, Deon Stegmann, Pedrie Wannenburg, Dewald Potgieter, Jacques Burger, Dries van Schalkwyk, Okkie Kruger, Gerrit-Jan van Velze
Locks: Victor Matfield (captain), Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Wilhelm Steenkamp,
Props: Gurthrö Steenkamp, Rayno Gerber, Werner Kruger, Jaco Engels, Dean Greyling, Ruan Vermeulen, Frik Kirsten
Hookers: Derick Kuün, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Bandise Maku.