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The Vodacom Bulls have named a strong lineup for their Vodacom United Rugby Championship round 6 tie, against Benetton at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Italy. Jake White’s matchday 23 is without the services of Johan Goosen (HIA) and Cornal Hendricks (groin), who have returned back to the capital, to undergo rehab.

Only Marcell Coetzee and Elrigh Louw retain their starting positions in the forward pack, as BBCo Director of Rugby continues with the team’s rotational policy.

“Every game is important, it is a massive game. We are working hard for the win, but away wins are hard in the Vodacom Untied Rugby Championship, they are like gold,”

“However, I want the Vodacom Bulls supporters to know that players are working hard, they want to win. It is also important to understand that we haven’t gone from being a good team to bad overnight. We have played good sides, with experienced international players. It’s tough games, in a highly competitive competition and it’s tough to tour!”

White said that their outing in Italy will be very much influenced by lessons learnt from the Vodacom Bulls’ debut tour to the North-Eastern town of Treviso. “It is going to be a massive game, against a side that takes their home games seriously. It will be challenging because we are playing against an Italian side that beat Wales in the Six Nations competition, with 19 of their players, playing international test rugby,”

The Vodacom Bulls have taken a liking to the Italian region of Veneto, which boasts similar weather patterns as home.

“It’s very warm weather here, a nice change to the conditions we experienced in Ireland and Scotland. The people love their rugby and Benetton has unbelievably passionate supporters,”

“I want the (Vodacom) Bulls to win, we prepare and work hard. We remain as professional as we can be. We understand that we must improve and we must play our best rugby to win the tournament. We know that those days of touring here and expecting to have your 5 points are behind us, they (Benetton) are an experienced side” concluded White.

The Vodacom Bulls mentor also touted the success of the under-21 side, noting that the franchise has had a strong youth pipeline over the last few years.

“I will be watching the SA rugby under-21 Cup Final because it is important to keep up with their development. We wish the side well, this is another great opportunity for them to progress, and make it through the ranks. Ofcourse, Bulls junior rugby has been doing incredibly well over the last few years, a headache for the coaching staff but a good one to have,”

Kick-off against Benetton is at 18:30pm and the match will be LIVE on SS Rugby.


1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Bismarck Du Plessis, 3. Francois Klopper, 4. Janko Swanepoel, 5. Ruan Nortje, 6. Marcell Coetzee (c), 7. Marco Van Staden, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Chris Smith, 11. Wandisile Simelane, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Stedman Gans, 14. David Kriel, 15.  Kurt-Lee Arendse.


16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Walt Steenkamp, 20. Wj Steenkamp, 21. Zak Bruger, 22. Morne Steyn, 23. Stravino Jacobs.



FORWARDS (17): Gerhard Steenekamp, Simphiwe Matanzima, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Bismarck Du Plessis, Francois Klopper, Mornay Smith, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Vermaak, Ruan Nortje, Janko Swanepoel, Marcell Coetzee (c), Wj Steenkamp, Marco Van Staden, Reinhardt Ludwig, Elrigh Louw, Dylan Smith and Joe van Zyl.

BACKS (13): Zak Burger, Embrose Papier, Johan Goosen, Chris Smith, Stedman Gans, Bernard Van der Linde, David Kriel, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Morne Steyn, Cornal Hendricks, Wandisile Simelane and Kurt-lee Arendse.

MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Nollis Marais – Breakdown, Russell Winter – Forwards, Chris Rossouw – Backs, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist.

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