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2 December, Loftus Versfeld




1. Gerhard Steenekamp
2. Akker van der Merwe
3. Wilco Louw
4. Reinhardt Ludwig
5. Ruan Nortje (c)
6. Marco van Staden
7. Elrigh Louw
8. Nizaam Carr
9. Zak Burger
10. Jaco van der Walt
11. Sergeal Petersen
12. David Kriel
13. Stedman Gans
14. Sebastian de Klerk
15. Willie le Roux


16. Simphiwe Matanzima
17. Jan-Hendrik Wessels
18. Mornay Smith
19. Janko Swanepoel
20. Cyle Brink
21. Embrose Papier
22. Chris Smith
23. Canan Moodie



15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Byron Ralston
13. David Hawkshaw
12. Cathal Forde
11. Diarmuid Kilgallen
10. Jack Carty (CAPT)
9. Colm Reilly
8. Sean Jansen
7. Shamus Hurley-Langton
6. Oisin Dowling
5. Joe Joyce
4. Darragh Murray
3. Finlay Bealham
2. Tadgh McElroy
1. Denis Buckley


16. Dylan Tierney-Martin
17. Peter Dooley
18. Sam Illo
19. Niall Murray
20. Sean O’Brien
21. Caolin Blade
22. JJ Hanrahan
23. Conor Oliver



The herd returns ready to slay Connacht inside the fortress as World Cup-winning stars return to action.

  • Vodacom Bulls shuffle six for round 6
  • Jake White welcomes back Rugby World Cup winners
  • Willie le Roux to make his Tshwane club debut
  • Marco van Staden starts at flank, Nizaam Carr shifts to 8th man
  • Canan Moodie set for a start off the bench
  • Jaco van der Walt set for first home start

Springbok utility back and two-time World Cup winner, Willie le Roux will make his debut for the Vodacom Bulls who return to fortress Loftus looking to slay Connacht who visit the capital in round six of the 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship. Jake White’s herd has seen six rotational shuffles made to the starting XV with two more changes in personnel on the bench for the clash set for Saturday 25 November, at 17h00.

Le Roux will lace his boots and line up at fullback with the centre-pairing of David Kriel and Stedman Gans infront of him. Once more, ‘Speed Kings’ Sergeal Petersen and Sebastian de Klerk will command the herd on the wings whilst scrumhalf Zak Burger and Jaco van der Walt (flyhalf) will marshal the troops at halfback.

Up ahead, the front row is assembled with Gerhard Steenekamp at loosehead prop alongside Akker van der Merwe at hooker with Wilco Louw at tighthead prop. Behind the power-packing trio will be the lock combination of Reinhardt Ludwig and captain Ruan Nortje in the second row. Versatile flanker, Marco ‘Eskom’ van Staden returns to the fold and will start at flank alongside Elrigh Louw to his right with Nizaam Carr at eight.

Director of Rugby, Jake White has assembled an impact squad comprising of 5 forwards and three backline players in Simphiwe Matanzima, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Cyle Brink, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith and the young World Champion, Canan ‘Mr. Magic’ Moodie.

Gates at Loftus will open from 14h00 in the afternoon with plenty of entertainment for the entire family at the Loftus Markert on the D-field.

Le Roux, who makes his club debut, opening yet another chapter in an illustrious career that has taken in spells at the Sharks, Cheetahs, Griquas, Wasps and out in Japan said: “To be honest, I didn’t think I would ever be a Bull,” admitted the 34-year-old full-back. My dad has always been a Vodacom Bulls supporter, even though we were living in Cape Town,”

“It’s funny with the ride and the way it takes you. I’m now a Bull and I’m enjoying it so much. The guys are unbelievable, the coaching staff, everyone. It’s 35 degrees every day when you train, so that’s a bit tough and something to get used to,”

“But all the games I have played at Loftus for the Springboks, it’s always been a vibe. The people come out in numbers and support, so I can’t wait to play my first game.”


This is what we’re here for Loftus.

There are games, and then there is this game.

Trust me, there is a whole lot more between these two teams than just the roughly 620 kilometres from Durban to Pretoria.

This is one of the greatest rugby rivalries in the game – the Vodacom Bulls against the Hollywoodbets Sharks.

It’s a game where the players tackle just that little bit harder, the fans scream that much louder, and the toll gates make that much more money with the Durban fans traveling up for this one.

But this time it’s even more personal.

As big a rivalry as this is, today there is also common ground between these two teams.

They will be coming together to help put an end to gender-based violence in our country. For every tackle in this match, fans and companies will be able to donate anything from R10 to R20 000 for two Durban-based charities who support abused women and children.

That’s rugby leading the way once again, and as South African rugby’s greatest supporter, Vodacom is throwing its support behind this as well with our own pledge.

So today, when we cheer on our respective teams, let’s remember to also stand together and tackle gender-based violence once and for all.

Sitho Mdlalose

CEO of Vodacom South Africa