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07 Nov 2007 12:24
Three new signings at fullback and the return of Springboks Chiliboy Ralepelle and Pierre Spies after a layoff are the outstanding features of the Bulls’ Super 14 training squad that was announced on Wednesday.
The Bulls have also named six locks in their search to fill the huge boots of this year’s captain, Victor Matfield, and Francois van Schouwenburg, who have both signed for overseas clubs.
Added to the seven props in the group, including two new signings, the traditional strength of the Bulls’ front five is obviously not being neglected.
Spies, who had to withdraw from the World Cup squad because of illness, is one of seven loose forwards, including the probable successor of Matfield as captain, Wikus van Heerden.
Springbok hooker Ralepelle’s return—a year after he led a Springbok side in a non-Test fixture—is good news indeed following the departure of World Cup Springbok Gary Botha, now with London Harlequins.
Derick Kuun, in his first season as hooker after his move from flank, had an excellent season, and Ralepelle will further strengthen this position.
The 47-man squad, which includes 15 Springboks and nine new Bulls signings, is particularly strong at loose forward and includes five Springboks in Van Heerden, Pedrie Wannenburg, Pierre Spies, Hilton Lobberts and Danie Rossouw.
Not much should, however, be read into Rossouw’s selection as a loose forward, as he will no doubt have many a start as a lock during the Super 14.
The two non-Springbok loose forwards are the two exciting youngsters, Dewald Potgieter and Deon Stegmann, who this year impressed in their first season at the top.
The retirement of Johan Roets has left a void at fullback, and the Bulls have signed the experienced Tiger Mangweni from the Cheetahs, the exciting Zane Kirchner from Griquas and Namibia’s Tertius Losper, who impressed at the recent World Cup.
The squad will assemble on Monday November 12, with the exception of wings Danwell Demas and Trompie Nontshinga, who are at the national Sevens camp in Cape Town. They will train again at George in early December, as they did last year.
Matfield will also join the group before his departure to Toulon, France, at the end of the year.—Sapa
Fullbacks: Tertius Losper, Tiger Mabngweni, Zane Kirchner (all three new signings).
Wings: Marius Delport, Danwell Demas, Bryan Habana, John Mametsa, Trompie Nontshinga, Akon Ndungane.
Centres: JP Nel, Wynand Olivier, Stephan Dippenaar (new signing), Luvuyo Mhlobiso, Wayne Julies, Stefan Watermeyer.
Flyhalves: Derek Hougaard, Frances Burton, Morne Steyn, Ruan Boshoff.
Scrumhalves: Heini Adams, JP Joubert, Francois Hougaard (new signing), Fourie du Preez.
Loose forwards: Wikus van Heerden, Pedrie Wannenburg, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies, Deon Stegmann, Dewald Potgieter, Hilton Lobberts.
Locks: Bakkies Botha, Fudge Mabeta, Hendrik Roodt, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Wouter Moore (new signing), Juandre Kruger (new signing).
Hookers: James van der Walt, Derick Kuun, Bandise Maku, Chiliboy Ralepelle.
Props: Richard Bands, Gurthro Steenkamp, Rayno Gerber, Sangoni Mxoli (new signing), Werner Kruger, Rassie van Vuuren (new signing).
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