Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White has confirmed his player roster and management group for the 2023-24 rugby season. White will have 57 players ready to do service across three competitions, namely the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, Heineken Champions Cup and the Currie Cup. They will be supported by a management cohort of 17 coaches, sports scientists and other support personnel.
Commenting on his roster for the season ahead, White said: “There is a special feeling in the air at Loftus at the moment, perhaps because we are all enjoying our pre-season work and collectively looking forward to what promises to be an exciting season of rugby ahead,”
“Our new recruits have already added fresh energy to our base and they have been warmly welcomed by the rest of the group, which is wonderful as we look to build a wonderful brotherhood among all the players and management alike,”
“We know the season will be long and to keep consistency all the way through will be vital for our campaign and this is why we have expanded our squad, to make sure we are not found wanting in certain periods and also be able to make like-for-like replacements when need be. Our recruitment has been intentional in making sure we find additional resources that will be able to help us get as close as possible to the goals and targets that we have in place. Some of the guys joining us also bring international experience, which will bode well for the season ahead.”
White added: “Fortunately, the players also have an experienced coaching unit to tap into and try to learn as much as they can, so that they are in a better place and have that competitive advantage compared to their opponents in the new season.”
On the establishment of the skills hub, which will be run by Kennedy Tsimba and Phiwe Nomlomo, the Vodacom Bulls mentor said that it was another step forward for the franchise, looking to exploit any gains possible that will make a difference in match situations.
“Phiwe and Kennedy are championing a department that should help us establish a competitive advantage as we look to have a roster of players - from juniors through to the seniors - who are leaving nothing to chance on the field, executing their roles at optimal levels throughout because these leagues need us to be absolutely crazy about accuracy,”
“The two will play a pivotal role in helping us keep our entire roster honest and also ensuring that they are always putting their best foot forward with measurable results on the table. Both Phiwe and Kennedy bring experience that cannot be limited to just the skills hub and therefore they will both be involved with hands on coaching with some of the teams,”
“This is an exciting time for me as a coach, watching the guys bond, work so hard behind the scenes and really show their unitedness as we upskill ourselves. I truly think we are on the right path and the strides we are hitting, will put us in a good place come the start of the season.”
The squad - detailed below - has been assembling at Loftus since the 19th of July and continues with its pre-season schedule with a few warm-up matches on the pipeline, details to be confirmed in due course.
Akker van der Merwe, Cameron Hanekom, Cyle Brink, Dylan Smith, Deon Slabbert **, Elrigh Louw, Francois Klopper, Gerhard Steenekamp, Jacques Du Plessis, Jacques van Rooyen, Jannes Kirsten, Janko Swanepoel, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, JF van Heerden, Joe van Zyl, Johann Grobbelaar, Khutha Mchunu, Marcell Coetzee, Marco van Staden, Merwe Olivier, Mihlali Mosi, Mornay Smith, Mpilo Gumede, Muller Uys, Nizaam Carr, Phumzile Maqondwana, Reinhardt Ludwig, Robert Hunt, Ruan Nortje, Ruan Vermaak, Sebastian Lombard, Simphiwe Matanzima, Tiaan Lange, Tielman Nieuwoudt, Wilco Louw, WJ Steenakamp
BACKS (25): Bernard Van der Linde, Canan Moodie, Chris Barend Smit, Chris Smith, Cornal Hendricks, David Kriel, Devon Williams **, Embrose Papier, Harold Vorster, Henry Immelman, Jaco van der Walt, Johan Goosen, Kabelo Mokwena, Keagan Johannes, Kurt-lee Arendse, Lionel Mapoe, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Sibongile Novuka, Sebastian de Klerk, Sergeal Petersen, Stedman Gans, Stravino Jacobs, Wandisile Simelane, Willie Le Roux, Zak Burger
** - player is on loan
1. Director of Rugby
2. Head of Technical
3. Assistant coaches
Andries Bekker, Chris Rossouw, Gary Gold, Jean Tiedt, Kennedy Tsimba, Phiwe Nomlomo, Werner Kruger
Dr. Herman Rossouw - Head of Medical, Dr. Henning Gericke - Sports Psychologist, Lance Lammetjies - Physiotherapist, Darryn Berry - Physiotherapist
5. Sports Science
Andre Volsteedt - Head of Strength & Conditioning, Stephen Plummer - Rehab Specialist, Yusuf Vahed - Sports Scientist
Elias Bennett - Team Manager, Simon Dyidi - Assistant Team Manager