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Goosen and Carr return as Vodacom Bulls travel to Griffons

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The Vodacom Bulls have welcomed back the services of Johan Goosen and Nizaam Carr for round 4 of the 2023 Currie Cup campaign. The Pretoria outfit travels to the Down Touch Investments Stadium, where they will take on the Novavit Griffons on Friday [31 March 2023] afternoon.

Kick-off for the clash is set for 15h00pm.

Flyhalf, Goosen was sidelined due to shoulder surgery whilst Carr (flanker) nursed a hamstring niggle. The pair are the only two changes made by coach, Edgar Marutlulle to the starting XV that did duty against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, a week ago.

Carr will line up alongside Phumzile Maqondwana and Muller Uys in the back row, in an otherwise unchanged forwards pack that includes captain Lizo Gqoboka, Jan Hendrik Wessels, Robert Hunt, Jacques Du Plessis and Reinhardt Ludwig. Goosen will join Keagan Johannes to combine as the two halfbacks in Welkom whilst Lionel Mapoe and Wandisile Simelane combine at centre. Kabelo Mokoena (left) and Quewin Nortje (right) will burn the gas burners from the wing with Franco Knoetze serving at fullback.

On the bench, Jacques van Rooyen and Simphiwe Matanzima have swapped locations, as van Rooyen joins the European squad with Matanzima reuniting with the South African camp, for family reasons. JP Alberts and Adriaan Joubert are the only other two changes made to the bench.

Marutlulle said that having Johan and Carr return was a welcomed boost for the club.

“If anyone offers you Goosen for your Currie Cup game, you take him at the blink of an eye. He is a world-class player who has travelled the world, represented the Springboks and played really amazing rugby in his career and so we are excited to have him with us for the Currie Cup,”

“I think when some people call you a prodigal interms of sport, where Johan has been earmarked since the age of 16,17 and there has always been that pressure of performance which he has shown at times. He has gone on to win two ‘Player of the Year’ awards during his time at the Top14 in France,”

“As a new coaching staff, we have the ability to give Johan freshness, the opportunity to give him space and a new voice where this team becomes the place where he can relax because he knows this is not the penultimate of rugby.”

On Nizaam moving between blind-side, open-side and eighth man, the Currie Cup mentor said: “We know Nizaam can play all around [6, 7, 8], he has enough adequate skills that bring us the all-important balance that we need in that back row. Supported by the likes of Phumzile who has done well in the opportunities he has gotten,”

On the challenge that awaits in Welkom, Marutlulle said: “I think this is the first time we have been able to put together a similar team together for two weekends in a row, and this is always the challenge of a franchise team. Finding consistency in selection and match-to-match performance. So we are hoping to begin seeing that cohesion and those relationships building through, continuing our momentum from the game last week,”

“We expect a difficult challenge from the Griffons in terms of what they offer physically, they have a 10 that can kick well and a 9 that can also kick for posts. They really have a mixed bag in terms of the style that they bring to the Currie Cup but we are excited for the challenge and we are really looking forward to growing and improving on last weeks performance where we were really good for 60 minutes of the game.”

VODACOM BULLS vs NOVAVIT GRIFFONS STARTING XV:
1. Lizo Gqoboka (c), 2. Jan Hendrik Wessels, 3. Robert Hunt, 4. Jacques Du Plessis, 5. Reinhardt Ludwig, 6. Phumzile Maqondwana, 7. Nizaam Carr, 8. Muller Uys, 9. Keagan Johannes, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. Kabelo Mokoena, 12. Lionel Mapoe (vc), 13. Wandisile Simelane, 14. Quewin Nortje, 15. Franco Knoetze

VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD:
16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Joe Van Zyl, 18. Sebastian Lombard, 19. JP Alberts, 20. Mihlali Mosi, 21. Bernard van der Linde, 22. Chris Barend Smit, 23. Adriaan Joubert

MANAGEMENT: Edgar Marutlulle – Head Coach, Sean Everitt – Defence & Breakdown, Hugo van As – Backline, Gert Smal – Forwards, Justin – Technical Analyst, Dr. Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Mike Prevoo – Strength & Conditioning, Darryn Berry – Physiotherapist, Claudette Eckard – Physiotherapist, Andries Kabine – Logistics Manager, Yusuf Vahed – Team Manager

Content & Images from – Vodacom Bulls Rugby


URC

Ulster ready for Dragons in Origin Round at Kingspan Stadium

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Ulster ready for Dragons in Origin Round at Kingspan Stadium

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Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, has named the Ulster team to take on Dragons RFC at Kingspan Stadium in Round 11 of the BKT United Rugby Championship (KO 7 35pm).

The province returns to URC action at home for the first time since the Interprovincial derby victory over Connacht at Kingspan Stadium before Christmas.

Ulster Rugby Academy graduate, James Hume, will captain his province from a centre partnership that sees him paired with 21-year-old Jude Postlethwaite.

Springbok and double Rugby World Cup winner, Steven Kitshoff, starts at loosehead prop and is joined by hooker, Tom Stewart, and fellow prop, Tom O’Toole, who returns to the team for the first time since being called up to Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell’s Guinness Six Nations squad.

The second row sees young talents Cormac Izuchukwu and Harry Sheridan come together as the two locks.

The back row is unchanged from last time out against Ospreys, with David McCann, Marcus Rea and Nick Timoney retaining their places.

Ulster opts for the experienced half-back partnership of John Cooney and Billy Burns.

Academy products, Mike Lowry and Ethan McIlroy, start on the right and left wing respectively.

Will Addison completes the back field as he starts at full-back.

The bench sees a welcome return to action for lock, Kieran Treadwell, who returns after an injury sustained against Harlequins in January.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Scott Wilson, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reffell, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale form the replacement options from the bench.

Ulster Rugby v Dragons RFC, Origin Round 11, BKT United Rugby Championship, 7 35pm, Saturday 2 March, live on Viaplay and BBC Radio Ulster.

With the URC celebrating the people and communities behind the professional players competing in the league through its Origin Round this week, Ulster Rugby will be celebrating the important role of clubs and schools in player development with a programme of events at Saturday’s home game. For more info, visit: https://ulster.rugby/content/ulster-rugby-celebrates-urc-origins-round-against-dragons

(15-9) Will Addison (Upper Eden RUFC), Ethan McIlroy (Ballynahinch RFC), James Hume (C) (Instonians RFC), Jude Postlethwaite (Lisburn RFC), Mike Lowry (Dromore RFC), Billy Burns (Walcot RFC), John Cooney (Gonzaga College);

(1-8) Steven Kitshoff (Maties RFC), Tom Stewart (Belfast Academy), Tom O’Toole (Ashbourne RFC), Cormac Izuchukwu (Tullamore RFC), Harry Sheridan (Civil Service NI RFC), David McCann (Cooke RFC), Marcus Rea (Ballymena RFC), Nick Timoney (Blackrock College).

Replacements: John Andrew (Ballymena RFC), Andrew Warwick (Ballymena RFC), Scott Wilson (Dromore RFC), Kieran Treadwell (Chipstead RFC), Sean Reffell (Bromley RFC), Nathan Doak (Lisburn RFC), Luke Marshall (Ballymena RFC), Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch RFC).

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


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Darcy Graham injury update

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Darcy Graham injury update

Darcy Graham will be out of action for three to four months with the Scotland internationalist set to undergo surgery to repair a groin injury next week.

Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We really feel for Darcy [Graham] because he is a player that puts his heart and soul into rugby. He loves playing for this club while he is a proud Scotsman who takes great pride in representing his country.

“We’ve got every confidence Darcy will work his way back from next week’s surgery with the same drive and determination in which he trains and plays.”

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Match Preview: Ospreys

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Match Preview: Ospreys

Get set for Friday night’s crucial BKT United Rugby Championship clash against Ospreys at Hive Stadium (1 March, kick-off 7.35pm) with our match preview.

GET TICKETS

Tickets can be purchased right up until kick-off HERE. Gates open at 6pm ahead of a 7.35pm kick-off.

WHAT’S ON

There’s plenty on the go at Hive Stadium as match night returns to the capital!

  • Live music from Dead Sea Souls
  • Support our Services activity in the Fan Zone
  • Live URC action in the Clubhouse
  • Get a photo with the Calcutta & Doddie Weir Cups in The Clubhouse

Read our What’s on Guide HERE.

TEAM NEWS

Mark Bennett makes his 100th appearance for the club as one of four changes made to the capital XV for the visit of Ospreys.

Mark Bennett takes the place of James Lang who drops to the bench, with Matt Currie moving to the 12 jersey.

Ben Vellacott – who skippers the side – starts in place of Ali Price, with the British & Irish Lion selected on the bench.

Sam Skinner returns from Scotland camp taking the place of Marshall Sykes, who is also named among the replacements.

Tom Dodd starts at blindside flanker in place of Jamie Ritchie who is retained by Scotland.

Full team news can be read HERE.

WHAT’S BEEN SAID

Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We’re excited to be back home at Hive Stadium for what is a hugely important fixture for the club.

“With the log so tight and teams around us playing each other this weekend, a win is imperative in maintaining our push for a top-eight finish.

“Ospreys are playing with no fear, and they’ll travel north with plenty of confidence, but we’re at home where we love to play under the lights. It’s Friday night and the Edinburgh supporters will be out in full force – it’s set to be a brilliant occasion.”

He continued: “We’re delighted to see Mark [Bennett] make his 100th appearance for the club. He’s been a brilliant servant to Edinburgh Rugby and thoroughly deserves a start on a special night for him personally.”

THE STORY SO FAR

Its’s tight at the top…

With a 7-3 record, Edinburgh sit in fifth place in the Championship on 30 points.

With a 6-4 record, Ospreys sit in seventh place in the Championship on 29 points.

That makes Friday night’s clash at Hive Stadium massive in terms of each team’s aspirations for a top eight finish.

Ospreys are flying high having won 5-in-a-row, while Edinburgh have lost just one game at home so far this season and will be hoping for a massive win to keep momentum going heading into the business end of the year.

LAST TIME OUT

Edinburgh claimed a decisive 45-21 victory over the Welsh region in the final home game of last season – check out highlights below:

DID YOU KNOW

Edinburgh Rugby’s only two defeats in the last seven rounds of the BKT United Rugby Championship were at home to Benetton in Round 6 and away at Glasgow in Round 8.

Edinburgh’s only defeat in their last five fixtures against Welsh regions in the Championship was 14-42 at Scarlets in February 2023.

Ospreys have won their last five first team fixtures since their 5-38 defeat at Montpellier in Round 2 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

Ospreys only victory outside of Wales in the BKT United Rugby Championship since October 2021 was on their visit to Zebre in January 2023.

Ospreys have won just once in Scotland since March 2017: 25-10 against today’s opponents, Edinburgh, at Scottish Gas Murrayfield in October 2020.

Edinburgh won 45-21 the last time the two sides met, at Hive Stadium in April 2023.

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Content & Images from – Edinburgh Rugby


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