Pollard boost for Bulls
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Flyhalf Handré Pollard is expected to make a return to the playing field on January 28, 2017 when the Bulls will face a South African Super Rugby opponent in Zimbabwe.
Pollard will join the rest of the Bulls squad on December 4 for a pre-season camp in George.
He missed the 2016 season due to knee and shoulder injuries, but he is amongst a host of players, including midfielder Jan Serfontein that has recovered well and will return to the squad at the training camp that will last until December 16.
A big squad is currently training in Pretoria and Bulls coach Nollis Marais will cut the numbers before they travel to George for the camp.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Friday that Irne Herbst and Dayan van der Westhuizen will be on loan to the Southern Kings for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
"This is a great opportunity for them to play Super Rugby and continue their development and progress as players," BBC's High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg said.
"We realise the importance of depth if you want to win a Super Rugby title, but it is also in the best interest of South African rugby and the players to have them on the field and playing, so we have no problem with them playing at the Kings in 2017."
A large number of junior players are currently with the squad and according to Janse van Rensburg, this is done on purpose.
"We have been bringing in juniors to train with the senior squad since 2011 and it works well for us. We will expose our Under-19 recruits like Hanru Sirgel, Kwezi Mafu, JC Pretorius, Jerome Bossr, Christiaan Strydom and Cabous Eloff to the senior group.
"We deem it important to create opportunities for a youngster to be exposed to senior and Super Rugby training sessions and players. In order for us to fast-track them and make the gap smaller, they need to measure themselves against the top players and we believe it’s integral part of their growth and development as a player.
"We will be constantly doing this with all the junior players," Janse van Rensburg confirmed.
Western Province Under-21 wing Sibahle Maxwane and Junior Springbok and Free State Under-21 prop Conraad van Vuuren, has also joined the Blue Bulls, he confirmed.
Extended Bulls training squad: Duncan Matthews, Divan Rossouw, Manie Libbok, Jesse Kriel, Earll Dowrie, Warrick Gelant, Ulrich Beyers, Luther Obi, Kafentse Mahlo, Irvin Ali, Andell Loubser, Jamba Ulengo, Jade Stighling, Travis Ismaiel, Sibahle Maxwane, Dries Swanepoel, Johnny Kotze, Jan Serfontein, Franco Naude, Burger Odendaal, JT Jackson, Boeta Hamman, Francois Brummer, Tony Jantjies, Joshua Stander, Tian Schoeman, Handré Pollard, Ivan van Zyl, Andre Warner, Embrose Papier, Rudy Paige, Piet van Zyl, Renaldo Bothma, Hanro Liebenberg, Freddy Ngoza, Arno Botha, Nic de Jager, Abongile Nonkontwana, Ryno Pieterse, Jannes Kirsten, Ruan Steenkamp, Shaun Adendorff, Roelof Smit, Jacques Potgieter, Eduan Lubbe, Marco van Staden, Eli Snyman, Hendre Stassen, Lodewyk de Jager, Jason Jenkins, Ruben van Heerden, Rudolph Snyman, Jacobie Adriaanse, Conraad van Vuuren, John-Roy Jenkinson, Martin Dreyer, Trevor Nyakane, Pierre Schoeman, Gerhard Steenekamp, Lizo Gqoboka, Nqoba Mxoli, Jaco Visagie, Edgar Marutlulle, Corniel Els, Adriaan Strauss, Alandre van Rooyen.
Bulls' provisional warm-up fixtures for 2017:
January 28: South African Super Rugby opponent (Zimbabwe)
February 8: Chiefs (Brisbane)
February 10/11: Brisbane 10's