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The Vodacom Bulls can confirm that assistant coach, Russell Winter has left the club – to join Japanesse side, the Kubota Spears – after three and half memorable seasons at the capital.

Winter has been a highly valued member of the coaching team since joining in 2020, supporting Director of Rugby, Jake White as the forwards coach. ‘Cuz’ as he is affectionately known to those at Loftus, quickly became one of the leading mentors in the locker room since moving into the coaching department.

During his time in Tshwane, he formed part of the team that helped the franchise to two Currie Cup crowns as well as the Super Rugby Unlocked title, whilst also his experience in playing in Europe came in handy when the franchise began its European quest.

Cuz said the move to Japan was not easy to make but it was necessary because it aligns with his long-term goals.

“Leaving the Vodacom Bulls is not easy and certainly I did not think it would be an easy decision, but it is one that I had to make because the Kubota Spears present the opportunity for me to take my long-term coaching goals a level up in the sense that it is a franchise that is based abroad,”

“I will treasure the relationships made with all the players, management and fans the most because they made the early mornings and late nights all worth it. Loftus is a special place and I am confident that our paths will cross again in the future,”

He concluded by saying: “I wish the team, the franchise and all the heroes in the background all of the very best for the future and I know there are some wonderful things that lie ahead for this franchise.”

White thanked Winter for his contributions to the Vodacom Bulls and said: “He has been a tremendous addition to our coaching staff. His experience and knowledge of the game has been a tremendous offering for our players and for the success that we have all enjoyed,”

“It is never easy to say goodbye to colleagues but on the same breath he has a wonderful opportunity and I wish him all the best in Japan. What an incredible country and people that he is going to, I am confident that he will get something out of his time there as much as the people will, Japan is a wonderful place for rugby.”

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