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Vodacom Bulls welcome back Jake White

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Blue Bulls Company (BBCo.) Director of Rugby, Jake White has made his much-anticipated return to Loftus Versfeld having fully recovered from surgery that saw him sidelined for four weeks.

White is reunited with his troops who too return from a deserved two-week break. The Vodacom Bulls unit assemble at Loftus on Thursday morning (09 February 2023) preparing for a mouth-watering run towards the end of the season.

BBCo. Chief Executive Officer, Edgar Rathbone said having Jake back was a good morale boost for everyone at Loftus.

“It is great to have Jake return. We are happy to not only see him back where he belongs but to have him with us means that he is back at full health and that is comforting knowing the tough period he went through. His influence on everyone at Loftus is immeasurable and knowing that he is back, certainly does give all of us an extra kick in our step,”

“I know he is raring to go after what has probably felt a long time away from what he loves doing. We are incredibly lucky to have his calibre of coach a part of the Vodacom Bulls family and know that there is more great things ahead for us all, with him here. Welcome back, Jake!” Rathbone concluded.

An ecstatic Jake said it is a privilege to be back doing what he loves and being around people who mean so much to him.

“It is good to be back, after what has felt like an eternity away from the game,”

“In my time away I was reminded of how extremely fortunate I am to be coaching rugby, in a country like ours where this sport means so much to the people who follow it. I was also reminded of my privilege to coach rugby at Loftus, a well-known club around the world.”

The Vodacom Bulls mentor already has his sights set on the journey ahead for him and his troops, remarking that there is work to be done.

“I know there is more to life than the sport but I return knowing that we have a lot of work to do and I cannot wait to get going because I have missed this. Perspective on life may have been re-highlighted but I return as that passionate and driven coach, hungry for results,”

“It is good to be around the environment again and it will be good to stand in the middle of the field next weekend, with our incredible supporters in the stands. Time to get to work!” he concluded.

White will assemble his herd as they ready to return to Vodacom United Rugby Championship action as well as their round of 16 trip in the Heineken Champions Cup also on the horizon. The side’s first assignment will be against the DHL Stormers at Loftus on Saturday 18 February.

VODACOM BULLS UPCOMING FIXTURES:

VODACOM UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday 18 February               – Vodacom Bulls vs DHL Stormers | Loftus Versfeld Stadium – kickoff: 17h05pm

Saturday 4 March                      – Vodacom Bulls vs Emirates Lions

Saturday 25 March                   – Ulster Rugby vs Vodacom Bulls

Saturday 15 April                       – Vodacom Bulls vs Zebre Parma

Saturday 22 April                       – Vodacom Bulls vs Leinster Rugby

HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP:

Sunday 02 April                          – Stade Toulousain vs Vodacom Bulls

Match and Parking tickets to all matches at Loftus Versfeld can be purchased through the Vodacom Bulls App and TicketPro

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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