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Team effort key for Vodacom Bulls success believes Coach Rossouw



Teamwork is the key to success in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, believes Vodacom Bulls backline coach, Chris Rossouw.

On the back of the inaugural Vodacom URC season which saw the Vodacom Bulls reach the final against reigning champions, DHL Stormers, and on the verge of the start of the second edition of the cross-hemisphere competition, the Vodacom Bulls’ backline coach reflected on the previous season highlighting areas the Tshwane-based side would target in order to go one better than the previous season and bring the trophy to Loftus Versfeld.

“The past year has been an unbelievable one,” reflected Rossouw.

“From a coaching perspective, what this competition teaches you, as well as the Heineken Champions Cup which we will partake in this season, is that there is a lot more detail in the coaching. As a coach you get stimulated a lot and there is plenty of room for growth.

“You always need to find new ways to perform. If we look at Super Rugby, that was a competition that always suited the individual, made up of stars. However, in the Vodacom URC or Heineken Champions Cup, it is the better team that ends up winning the competition. So, for us to get that cohesion and for me as a coach, it’s about getting that right – making sure that we perform well as a team.”

This week focus in the Vodacom Bulls camp has been firmly on the Vodacom URC season-opening match – a Jukskei Derby against old rivals, Emirates Lions, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

The Vodacom Bulls have been hard at work during their pre-season preparations in the hope of getting their campaign in the 2022/23 season off to a good start.

“it’s the first game of the season, so we expect that everybody will be a little bit short of breath. It is always nice when it’s warm, ideal conditions to run and play our game,” said Rossouw.

“I think for the first game of the season it will be important to control the game and see where our fitness is. We had a very good pre-season, and the guys are looking forward to going out at full pace, so on Saturday we will see where we are. We are confident and we are in a good place to perform.

The side from Fortress Loftus relished the opportunity to have an off-season break after the conclusion of the 2021/22 season. This was the first time in two years that the Vodacom Bulls managed to have a break in between seasons.

“We had a five-week break – which was our first break in about two years. Yes, it was a little longer than usual, but we thought our players deserved it. We have a long season ahead of us, so we thought it would be better to give them one or two more weeks off,” said the backline coach.

“It is expected that we will be off the pace by one or two yards, but in terms of cohesion, we didn’t have too many changes to our group, and we went through a whole lot of detail over the past six weeks with [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Andre Voldsteedt doing a fantastic job with the guys in the gym and on the field. So, we expect it to take us two or three games for us to be back to full game fitness. We are quite confident that we will perform.”

Given the slow start to their campaign in the previous season, Rossouw believes that all the South African sides have learnt some lessons from that experience. The backline coach indicated that the Vodacom Bulls will be going into this current campaign with more confidence and being better prepared for the season that lies ahead.

“In the beginning of the last season we got ourselves on the wrong side of the table and we had to play a little bit of catchup,” he said.

“That was basically getting used to the conditions and tempo. We managed to make a few changes in the middle of the season and that suited us well and we ended up reaching the final. That, for us, was unbelievable, and I also think that there were a few teams that may have underestimated us. This season we know that it will not be a situation where some of the opposition play a weakened side against us.

“We are ready for the challenge. We really enjoyed going to Leinster last season, having the Cell C Sharks here and also playing in the final. We are confident that we will hit our straps soon and pave the way to once again be in the playoffs, hopefully.”

The Vodacom Bulls will travel to Emirates Airline Park on Saturday, with their clash against the Emirates Lions kicking off at 16h05.

The Vodacom Bulls will name their match-day squad of 23 for the encounter on Friday.

Content & Images from – Vodacom Bulls Rugby


Ulster ready for Dragons in Origin Round at Kingspan Stadium



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:

(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



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



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.


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


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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


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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