Looking at the brimming talent that ladens the SA under-20 squad, there’s little doubt that the Junior Boks should once again dominate the IRB Junior World Championships - and one can only smile in awe when one thinks about the overall future and the role that these youngsters will play in South African Rugby and the Bulls in particular.
The 28 man squad that leaves for France on the 28 May 2013 is once again weighed heavily with young Vodacom Blue Bulls players, ten to be exact, including the captain Ruan Steenkamp and deputy Handré Pollard. They join an elite group of Vodacom Blue Bulls that have also had the honor of leading the Junior Boks: Wiaan Liebenberg, William Small-Smith, Arno Botha, CJ Stander, Gerrit-Jan van Velzer, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Derick Kuün.
Vodacom Bulls Super Rugby Head coach Frans Ludeke addressed the youngsters, at a breakfast gathering held to honor them at Loftus this morning. Also in attendance were Barend van Graan (CEO Blue Bulls Company (pty) Ltd), Jannie van der Mescht (BBRU board member) and members of the junior coaching staff. As always, Ludeke spoke with passion as he shared a few inspirational and motivational words, but most of all he focused on the pride that they should feel to be part of this squad. “You have the best systems and support around you, so use it well. For most this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so be sure to make these memories those that will last forever. It is a great privilege to be part of this group, enjoy it and seize this opportunity with everything you have. Remember to hold your heads high and make us all proud.”
Xander Janse van Rensburg, high performance manager, who has already played a huge role in most of these young careers, added, ”It is a very small percentage of young men that get to live this dream - a dream that you guys have had since you were little boys. You represent not only your country, and the Bulls, but also your families, your schools, and every coach and team that you have ever played for.”
Andrew Beerwinkel (Blue Bulls, Prop), Marne Coetzee (KwaZulu-Natal, Prop), Aidon Davis (EP Kings, No 8), Luan de Bruin (Free State, Prop), Jacques du Plessis (Blue Bulls, Lock), Robert du Preez (KwaZulu-Natal, Flyhalf), Ockert du Toit (Free State, Hooker), Justin Geduld (SARU contracted, Centre), Irne Herbst (Blue Bulls, Lock), Jannes Kirsten (Blue Bulls, Lock), Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province, Fullback), Sylvian Mahuza (Leopards, Fullback), Devon Martinus (Golden Lions, Prop), Luther Obi (Leopards, Wing), Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings, Wing), Handrè Pollard (Blue Bulls, Flyhalf), Seabelo Senatla (SARU contracted, Wing), Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls, Centre), Sithembiso Sithole (Western Province, Prop), Kwagga Smith (Golden Lions, Flank), Roelof Smit (Blue Bulls, Flank), Ruan Steenkamp (Blue Bulls, Flank), Dries Swanepoel (Blue Bulls, Centre), Stefan Ungerer (KwaZulu-Natal, Scrumhalf), Hanco Venter (KwaZulu-Natal, Scrumhalf), Dennis Visser (Blue Bulls, Lock), Michael Willemse (Western Province, Hooker), Percy Williams (Golden Lions, Scrumhalf)