The Vodacom Bulls have announced their matchday squad for round 12 of the 2022/23 Vodacom United Rugby Championship, against the Dragons in the city of Newport, South of Wales on Friday 06 January 2023.
BBCo. Director of Rugby, Jake White, recalled Wandisile Simelane into the matchday 23 whilst retain the services of the same squad that did duty in Durban, a week ago.
The front row remains the same, with the only switch taking place between prop Gerard Steenekamp and Simphiwe Matanzima swapping jerseys.
At the back, Zak Burger will don number 9 at scrum-half whilst David Kriel starts at left wing with Canan Moodie on the right, at 14. Harold Vorster will have Wandisile Simelane at 13, the duo pairing up as the centre pairing for the clash. Kurt-Lee Arendse returns to fullback.
The impact squad sees the addition of Bismarck Du Plessis, who comes into the matchday 23 with Jan-Hendrik Wessels missing out due to a niggle. Scrum-half, Embrose Papier returns to the matchday squad with Johan Goosen and Cornal Hendricks completing the herd for the outing.
Vodacom Bulls’ scrum coach, Werner Kruger, said the side wants to play and that desire will not go away, now they just need to manage their games correctly.
“We weren’t our best against the Sharks. We did not execute the plan that we wanted and we were not physical enough, which caused us to be under immense pressure. So, if we can get things right – controlling the controllable – play the conditions right, pitch up with good intent and physicality and then our game drivers take control of the kicking battle and take us into the right areas of the field, then the battle will take care of itself,”
Travelling to Europe during this time of the year makes for a tricky outing but Kruger feels that managing the game situations correctly, will set the Pretoria outfit up for a good result.
“I think the biggest thing in Europe right now is managing weather conditions, making sure that we win the kicking battle and we take control of the territory and that will obviously put us in the right positions on the pitch; then we must ensure we execute and manage our opportunities the best.”
“With weather like that, you probably will not take chances in your own 22 but when on the right side of the field, with ball in hand, you will want to make good of your chances and you can have a go,”
“They (Dragons) are a quality side, having watched them in their boxing day fixture. They are doing well at home too; they are a strong mauling side with lots of good carriers in the likes of Ross Moriarty in their pack, so we will have to do a number up front, we will have to get our set pieces right. Playing away from home, it is tough to get the maul going but we will have to front up and when we have the opportunities, we must make the most of them,”
Kruger went on to say: “Likewise when they have the ball in hand, we are going to have to man up and get in their faces and stop them,”
“I think this is the only way you really can get a result away from home, is when you get in your opponent’s face and you really get physical with them,”
Asked about the return of Simelane at outside centre, Kruger remarked: “Wandi is an exciting player, it will be good to see him at outside centre and we are all looking forward to seeing what he brings to the midfield on matchday,”
Kruger also touched on playing in hybrid pitches and what adjustments the side will need to make. “There are a couple of these (hybrid) pitches, they are incredible surfaces to play on, the look and feel is almost similar to the grass or the normal pitches that South African players are used to.”
The fixture at Rodney Parade stadium will kick-off at 21h45pm (South African time) and will be broadcast LIVE on SuperSport Rugby.
VODACOM BULLS STARTING XV: 1. Gerard Steenekamp, 2. Johann Grobbelaar, 3. Mornay Smith, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Cyle Brink, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Zak Burger, 10. Chris Smith, 11. David Kriel, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Wandisile Simelane, 14. Canan Moodie, 15. Kurt-Lee Arendse
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Bismarck Du Plessis, 18. Sebastian Lombard, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Johan Goosen, 23. Cornal Hendricks
VODACOM BULLS TOURING SQUAD:
FORWARDS (16): Simphiwe Matanzima, Johan Grobbelaar, Mornay Smith, Ruan Vermaak, Ruan Nortje(c), Marco van Staden, Cyle Brink, Elrigh Louw, Gerhard Steenekamp, Bismarck Du Plessis, Sebastian Lombard, Janko Swanepoel, Reinhardt Ludwig, WJ Steenkamp, Tiaan Lange, Dylan Smith, and Nizaam Carr.
BACKS (12): Zak Burger, Embrose Papier, Johan Goosen, Chris Smith, Bernard van der Linde, David Kriel, Harold Vorster, Cornal Hendricks, Wandisile Simelane, Canan Moodie 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
Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Bayonne At Thomond
The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup opener against Bayonne at Thomond Park (5.30pm).
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Jean Kleyn will be unavailable until the New Year due to an eye injury suffered in the Leinster match. He attended for a specialist review last Tuesday and Wednesday and will have further follow-up before Christmas.
Jack Daly (ankle) and Liam Coombes (shoulder) both underwent surgery last week and will begin rehabilitation under the medical department.
There is good news for Patrick Campbell (ankle) as he has returned to team training.
Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will also return to training this week.
Simon Zebo (knee) will continue to rehabilitate early this week.
The availability of Campbell, O’Donoghue and Zebo will be determined later in the week.
Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) is improving but will remain unavailable for the Bayonne clash.
Continuing to rehab: Jack Daly (ankle), Peter O’Mahony (shoulder), Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).
There were 11 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.
In Division 1A, Fionn Gibbons, Chris Moore and Keynan Knox helped Young Munster to a win over City of Armagh with Gibbons among the tries.
Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten away to Terenure College.
In Division 1B, Jack Oliver, George Hadden and Colm Hogan helped Garryowen beat Blackrock College with Hogan scoring a try on his debut for the club. Oliver also kicked three conversions and two penalties.
Jack O’Sullivan and Ben O’Connor featured for UCC as they were narrowly beaten by Old Wesley.
In Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemians to a draw against MU Barnhall.
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Peter O’Mahony Steps Down After Over 10 Years As Munster Captain
Munster Rugby can confirm that Peter O’Mahony has made the decision to step down as squad captain after over 10 years leading the province.
O’Mahony first captained Munster in a competitive game on September 3, 2011 at the age of 21. It was just his 12th appearance for the province and he led the side for the opening five games of that season.
He took over the Munster captaincy on a permanent basis ahead of the 2013/14 season following the departure of Doug Howlett.
The 2022/23 season was O’Mahony’s 10th year as squad captain and ended with glory in Cape Town as he lifted the URC title with Keith Earls after a thrilling win over the Stormers.
Along with captaining Munster, he has also led Ireland and the British & Irish Lions.
Head Coach Graham Rowntree and the coaching team will select a new squad captain in due course.
Peter O’Mahony said: “Captaining Munster has been a dream come true for me.
“I grew up watching and idolising the Munster team and in particular the people who were leading the team.
“People like Mick Galwey, Jim Williams then on to the likes of ROG and Paul, who I had the privilege of playing with at the start of my career.
“I can remember the day I was asked to be captain like it was yesterday and discussing it with Paul to get his approval.
“From that day to this it’s been an utter privilege and has never been something I’ve taken for granted.
“However, having given a huge amount of thought to it, I think it is the right time to step back from the role to share my experiences and give the same guidance that I received when I took on the role.
“What an unbelievable honour it has been…and will always continue to be.”
Paying tribute to O’Mahony’s over 10 years as captain, Rowntree said: “You couldn’t pick a better leader than Pete and he has been a fantastic captain for this club.
“To lead Munster from such a young age and for so many years speaks volumes of his ability as a player on the pitch and a person off it.
“He commands huge respect and will still be a massive leader within the group. To have someone of Pete’s experience on hand to help us with the succession process is invaluable.
“We have a strong leadership group within the squad and will confirm a new squad captain in due course.”
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Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Leinster In Dublin
The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s URC round 6 clash against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (6.30pm, live on TG4).
Our next home game is against Glasgow Warriors at Musgrave Park on Friday, December 1 (7.35pm). Buy match tickets here.
Following Saturday’s win over Stormers, Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) and Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will both go for scans on their respective injuries.
Diarmuid Barron has progressed through the return to play protocols and will be available for selection.
Continuing to rehab: Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Patrick Campbell (ankle), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).
On the AIL front, there were nine Munster players in action for their clubs at the weekend.
In Division 1A, Keynan Knox and Fionn Gibbons helped Young Munster to a win over Terenure College at Tom Clifford Park.
Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten by Lansdowne in Dublin.
In Division 1B, Jack Oliver and George Hadden lined out for Garryowen as they were beaten by St Mary’s College with Oliver kicking a conversion and a penalty.
Jack O’Sullivan was a try-scorer for UCC with Ben O’Connor also starting as they beat Queen’s University at the Mardyke.
In Division 1B, Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemian to a 16-12 victory over Ballymena at Annacotty.
URC Round 7: Friday, December 1
Munster v Glasgow Warriors, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
Champions Cup Round 1: Saturday, December 9
Munster Rugby v Bayonne, Thomond Park, 5.30pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 8: Tuesday, December 26
Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
Champions Cup Round 4: Saturday, January 20
Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 5.30pm; Buy tickets here
Saturday, February 3
Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5pm; Buy final tickets here
URC Round 11: Friday, March 1
Munster v Zebre Parma, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 13: Saturday, March 30
Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 16: Saturday, May 11
Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 18: Saturday, June 1
Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here
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