Photo: Vodacom Bulls
The start of the New Year is always an amazing time, as it bubbles over with hopes, dreams and a ton of anticipation. It’s always a little more exciting for us at Loftus Versfeld, as we officially welcome our new group of Under 19s to the #BullsFamily.
A group 50, carefully selected youngsters from across the country, took their first steps into a career of professional rugby today, as they attended an orientation ceremony hosted by the Blue Bulls Company. Various high profile members of the coaching and management team, including Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby Head Coach Nollis Marais, CEO Barend van Graan, President of the BBRU Gert Wessels, and High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg, addressed the players, together with their parents and loved ones.
Janse van Rensburg, who has already played a major role in getting these youngsters to Loftus, emphasized that the focus of the Blue Bulls Company has shifted back to nurturing the young talent within our ranks, specifically the players at Under 19 level.
This elite group is also bigger than in the previous years. With the Currie Cup season starting earlier in 2016, and overlapping with the Vodacom Super Rugby season, the bigger junior group takes pressure off the senior system, allowing them to focus on Super Rugby. This will also assist in alleviating the pressure and high demand that will result from the extended season.
“It is essential for us to believe in our youngsters and give them our full backing and support. We all need to remember that the bigger vision for these young men is not one that will be achieved overnight – it will take time, immense dedication and lots of hard work.”
He also went on to urge the youngsters to seize and enjoy every moment of this opportunity: “…you will be taught many skills not only on the field, but also off the field. Utilise these skills, maximise every moment and opportunity to grow and become not only a better player, but most importantly, a better person. Rugby will come and go, but life continues. It’s important to live a life of value and impact, one that echoes for an eternity, and one that leaves things better than the way you initially found it.”
The Vodacom Blue Bulls Under 19 squad for 2016:
FORWARDS: Simphiwe Matanzima, Anele Songca, Raynard Esterhuizen, Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar, Nico Peyper, Franco Botha, Cole van Tonder, O’Neil Thiart, Ig Prinsloo, Mashao Mukhari, Christiaan Swanepoel, Hendre Stassen, Marius Verwey, Ruben van Heerden, Timothy Davids, Érik Groenewald, Vic Meyer, Adriaan Burger, Luvuyo Ndevu, Justin Levendal, Riekert Korff, Dylan van der Walt, Jaco Bezuidenhout, Tristan Dixon, Eduan Lubbe, MJ Hayes, Evan Booysen
BACKS: Joshua Allderman, Jason Olivier, Jordan du Preez, André Swanepoel, Sergio Kasper, Manie Lebbok, Boeta Hamman, Rudi Potgieter, Sentle Lehoko, Stedman Gans, JT Potgieter, Matt Kriel, Erich Cronje, Heino Bezuidenhout, Ciaran Dayaram, Jordan Holgate, Grant Dixie, Irvin Ali, Ivan Smit, Andell Loubser, Louwtjie Steenkamp, Happiness Peterson
Courtesy of the Bulls