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The Vodacom Bulls will be jetting out on Saturday to begin a four-week tour that will start in Ireland, continue to Wales and end in Scotland for their opening fixtures of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, has announced a 37-man squad for the overseas trip.

Springbok hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, who joined the side earlier in the week, will be a noticeable inclusion to the squad that will also see the return of Johan Goosen, who missed the final of the domestic Carling Currie Cup. Also in the travelling party, following a full recovery from injury, is scrumhalf Embrose Papier and Sintu Manjezi.

“We have a long and tough URC season ahead, and it will be important how we manage our squad going forward. Equally, it is important that we continue building on the winning culture we are creating at the Vodacom Bulls, so it is imperative that we utilize our experienced workhorses and our exciting youngsters,” said White.

“We are looking forward to a highly competitive opening three fixtures against Leinster, Connacht, Cardiff and Edinburgh – all quality opposition. All participating teams will be looking to start the season on a high note, and it is no different for us.”

The Vodacom Bulls’ fixtures for the tour are as follows:

Leinster Rugby v Vodacom Bulls – Saturday, September 25, 18h15 (SA time)
Connacht Rugby v Vodacom Bulls – Friday, October 1, 20h35 (SA time)
Cardiff Rugby v Vodacom Bulls – Saturday, October 9, 20h35 (SA time)
Edinburgh Rugby v Vodacom Bulls – Saturday, October 16, 18h15 (SA time)

The Vodacom Bulls touring group, by position, is:

PROPS:
1. Lizo Gqoboka (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
2. Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
3. Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
4. Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion)
5. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine)
6. Robert Hunt (Harlequins)

HOOKERS:
7. Bismarck du Plessis (Betway Centurion)
8. Jan-Hendrik Wessels (U20)
9. Joe van Zyl (Harlequins)
10. Sidney Tobias (Northam)
11. Schalk Erasmus (Tuine)

LOCKS:
12. Walt Steenkamp (Betway Centurion)
13. Sintu Manjezi (Harlequins)
14. (Reinhardt Ludwig) (U20)
15. Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
16. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria)

LOOSE-FORWARDS:
17. Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
18. Marcell Coetzee (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
19. Jacques du Plessis (FNB Tuks)
20. Muller Uys (FNB Tuks)
21. Elrigh Louw (FNB Tuks)
22. WJ Steenkamp (Tuine)

SCRUMHALVES:
23. Zak Burger (Tuine)
24. Embrose Papier (FNB Tuks)
25. Marco Jansen van Vuren (Pretoria)
26. Keagan Johannes (FNB Tuks)

FLYHALVES:
27. Johan Goosen (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
28. Chris Smith (Harlequins)

CENTRES:
29. Cornal Hendricks (Northam)
30. Harold Vorster (Northam)
31. Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria)
32. Stedman Gans (Northam)

OUTSIDE BACKS:
33. Kurt-Lee Arendse (Betway Centurion)
34. Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria)
35. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins)
36. Ruan Combrinck (Tuine)
37. David Kriel (Betway Centurion)

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