Bulls hold onto Bok
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Springboks scrumhalf Rudy Paige has been included in the Bulls Super Rugby 2018 squad despite speculations of an exit.
The 28-year-old Paige has been linked to a move to the Super Rugby franchise Lions in October.
According to a South African newspaper Rapport, Paige was identified as a suitable replacement for Francois De Klerk, who left for English side Sale Sharks.
However, days later after the rumour mill started Lions CEO Rudolf Streuli denied the reports.
And the 28-year-old's inclusion in Bulls Super Rugby squad just adds to the falsity of the speculations.
Aside from, Paige Bulls Executive Rugby and Head Coach John Mitchell included new signings Frans van Wyk and Thembelani Bholi (flank) in the group that will assemble for pre-season training.
Mitchell named many new faces to the squad as well as players still plying their trade in Japan, most notably locks RG Snyman and Jason Jenkins.
Two Blitzboks, Tim Agaba and Stedman Gans, is also in the group, although preparing with the Springbok Sevens in Stellenbosch at the moment.
"We are all pretty excited to get the pre-season underway and start putting the hard yards in," Mitchell said.
"The squad shows a good combination of old hands and young upstarts and they all know one thing, no spot in the final squad is guaranteed.
"Everyone will have to contribute and work very hard to make it into the final group and that will bring some competition in the squad, something that can only benefit us in the long run,"
The Bulls will play three warm-up matches in 2018.
The squad will be split to face the Lions in Johannesburg on January 27, and the Sharks in Polokwane on the same day.
They will then head out to a first-ever match in the USA, when they will face the Stormers at Stub Hub Centre in Los Angeles on February 3.
Pierre Schoeman, Trevor Nyakane, Lizo Gqoboka, Conraad van Vuuren, John-Roy Jenkinson, Frans van Wyk, Mox Mxoli, Matthys Basson, Gerhard Steenekamp (Apprentice, injured), Jaco Visagie, Adriaan Strauss, Edgar Marutlulle, Johan Grobbelaar, Jan-Henning Campher, Corniel Els (injured), Jason Jenkins, RG Snyman (both Japan), Lood de Jager, Aston Fortuin, Ruben van Heerden, Eli Snyman, Abongile Nonkontwana, Roelof Smit, Jacques Potgieter (Japan), Hanro Liebenberg, Ruan Steenkamp (injured), Jannes Kirsten, Nic de Jager (Japan), Hendré Stassen (injured), Tim Agaba (SA Sevens), Thembelani Bholi, Shaun Adendorff, Boom Prinsloo, Denzil Hill (apprentice), Eduan Lubbe (apprentice), Jaco Bezuidenhout (apprentice), Kwezi Mafu (apprentice), Ryno Pieterse (apprentice).
Ivan van Zyl (injured), Andre Warner, Embrose Papier, Theo Maree, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok, Tony Jantjies, Tinus de Beer, Jesse Kriel, Dries Swanepoel, Johnny Kotze, Ulrich Beyers, Stedman Gans (SA 7s), Burger Odendaal, Francois Brummer (Japan), JT Jackson (injured), Warrick Gelant, Travis Ismaiel, Jamba Ulengo, Duncan Matthews, Jade Stighling, Franco Naude, Divan Rossouw, Andell Loubser (apprentice).