Powerful Bulls Arrive in Namibia

The Blue Bulls arrived in Windhoek on Wednesday with a near full-strength side to face Namibia in a friendly rugby match on Saturday afternoon.

The team includes four Springboks, while 13 of the squad members have regularly represented the Bulls in the Super 15 Rugby competition this year, against the top franchises from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

The Bulls, in fact, sent their gest available team to Windhoek, and only five players, who are currently in the Springboks squad to play Wales on Saturday, are not with the team. They are Bok captain Victor Matfield, who will set a new record of 112 appearances for the Springboks on Saturday, fellow lock Flip van der Merwe, centre Jan Serfontein, scrum half Francois Hougaard and wing JJ Engelbrecht.

The Bulls team that arrived in Windhoek on Wednesday is coached by the experienced Frans Ludeke and includes four Springboks in prop Werner Kruger, hooker Bandise Maku, wing Bjorn Basson and scrumhalf Piet van Zyl.

Two more Springboks – prop Dean Greyling and flanker Deon Stegmann withdrew due to injury (although Stegmann joined his team mates on the trip to Windhoek), while Springbok wing Akona Ndungane could not make the trip due to passport problems.

The rest of the team however consists of players who have regularly represented the Bulls in the Super 15 competition tho year.

The Springboks in the squad are wing Bjorn Basson, scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, prop Werner Kruger and hooker Bandise Maku.

Amongst the backs they have regular Super 15 campaigners like fullback Jurgen Visser, flyhalf Jacques Louis Potgieter and centre William Small Smith, but their strength definitely lies in their huge pack of forwards where they are spoilt for choice.

They have a powerful front row of Maku, Morne Mellet and Kruger, who two months ago played his 100th Super Rugby match for the Bulls against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Amongst the loose forwards they can call upon regular Super 15 campaigners like Jacques du Plessis, Johno Ross and Grant Hattingh, while their two-metre tall lock Paul Willemse is developing into one of the most exciting young South African rugby players.

Willemse, in fact, has links to Namibia, having lived in Tsumeb with his mother for a year before moving to Johannesburg in 2011. Since then he went on to represent the junior Springboks who won the Junior World Cup in 2012.

Another player with Namibian links is flanker Jacques Engelbrecht, whose brother Alberto plays flank for Wanderers.

Other exciting up and coming talents include flanker Roelof Smit, lock Marvin Orie and hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Upon their arrival at the Safari Court Hotel, the Blue Bulls received two specially branded vehicles from Auas Motors that they may use for the duration of their stay.

“Namibians love their rugby and we are keen supporters of the game in our country. This is our way of ploughing back into the community that supports us,” James Short of Auas Motors said.

Saturday’s match between the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias and the Blue Bulls is scheduled to start at 16h00 at the Hage Geingob National Rugby Stadium.

Tickets are available through Computicket at Checkers and Shoprite, while the entrance fee is N$50 for the open stand and N$200 for the main stand.

Source : The Namibian