Botha to lead Bulls into battle

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 21:23

NEWS: Springbok loose forward Arno Botha will lead the Bulls in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division.

Botha, who have two Test caps to his credit, brings a wealth of talent to the team and is expected to lead by example and from the front.

The Blue Bulls start their Currie Cup campaign against Western Province on Friday in Pretoria.

Botha has proven leadership, having lead the Junior Springboks to the Under-20 World Championship a couple of years back and fulfil one of the core leadership roles in the current Bulls structure - where he played 46 times in the Super Rugby competition.

He has played in 24 Currie Cup matches for the team since his debut against the Pumas in 2011.

Botha will alternate with Nic de Jager and when he is off the field, Hanro Liebenberg, himself a former Junior Springbok captain, will take over the captaincy reigns, Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais confirmed.

"We are very fortunate to have a strong leadership core," Marais said.

"Arno does have the edge when it comes to experience and he is very well respected amongst the squad. It is also very important for me to have my captain as a starting certainty, so Arno ticks all the boxes.

"He is one of the best in the country and I can expecting good things from the team with him in charge," Marais added.

Botha said it is a big honour to lead the Bulls.

"I grew up being a Blue Bulls fan and always admired the quality of leadership in this team," the loose forward said.

"I have also played with some great captains, so hope to bring justice to the position. If you lead from the front, half of the challenge is done, so I am keen to see how this added responsibility improves my game."

* The Blue Bulls Company meanwhile also confirmed their coaching staff for the remainder of the season.

A number of new signings were also announced.

Nollis Marais is again in charge of the Blue Bulls Currie Cup team.

His forwards coach is Anton Leonard and backline coach is David Manuel. John-William Meyer will act as technical and kicking coach and Shaun du Toit and Henri-Charl Terblanche take care of strength and conditioning.

For the Under-21 team Pote Human will be head coach. His assistants are Bevin Fortuin (backs), Denzil Frans (forwards), Vainon Willis (technical) and Ghafoer Luckan (strength and conditioning).

The Under-19 team will be coached by Jaco Pienaar, with Dewey Swartbooi (backs), Curtley Prins (technical) and Mark Nicholls (strength and conditioning) the remaining staff.

Pine Pienaar is defence coach for the senior side, Gary Botha scrum and breakdown coach for all teams and Jacus Coetzee in charge of rehabilitation.

Hayden Groepes was named assistant coach for the backs for the Currie Cup and Under-21 teams, while Hendré Marnitz has been confirmed kicking and skills coach for the junior teams.
 
* The BBC also announced the signings of Conraad van Vuuren, John Roy Jenkinson and the extension of contract to Tony Jantjies.

Jantjies has agreed to a contract extension till 31 October 2017.

Van Vuuren, currently playing for the Free State will join on November 1 on a two-year deal.

Jenkinson, formerly Pukke and Leopards and currently Maties and WP, will join for two years from August 1.

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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 7 7 0 0 34
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Sharks 7 5 0 2 25
Western Province 7 4 0 3 23
Golden Lions 7 4 0 3 22
Griquas 7 4 0 3 20
Boland 7 2 0 5 9
Pumas 7 0 0 7 5
EP Kings 7 0 0 7 1