The Bulls have confirmed that Werner Kruger, Akona Ndungane and Duncan Matthews have extended their contracts.
The Blue Bulls have confirmed that Werner Kruger, Akona Ndungane and Duncan Matthews have extended their contracts and will be available to play for the Bulls in the 2015 Super Rugby competition.
Former Springbok wing Ndungane extended his contract till the end of the 2015 Super Rugby competition, while prop Kruger, who made his Springbok debut in 2011, signed on till October 2016.
Outside back Duncan Matthews, who represented the South African U20 side in 2014, will stay with the Pretoria-based franchise till at least October 2016.
The Blue Bulls’ high performance manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg, confirmed that the majority of the provisional Bulls squad for next year have signed up till the end of 2016.
“We had a long-term plan with some of these younger players which started in 2012 already and it is great to see that they are now blossoming in our structures,” he said.
“Added to some new signings for next season, I think the 2015 Super Rugby season could be an exciting one for our supporters.
Meanwhile, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke announced his provisional training squad for the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby competition at the same time.
The squad has six Springboks currently on tour with the national team in England and another 12 players who has represented the Springboks in the past.
It is also packed with a number of Baby Boks and Springbok Sevens players.
These new faces to the squad include Matthews, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant, Jamba Ulengo, Dries Swanepoel, Dan Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Nardus van der Walt, Irne Herbst, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Arno van Wyk and Pierre Schoeman.
New signings Lappies Labuschagne, Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss (all from the Cheetahs) are also in the group.
“I am very excited about this group,” said Ludeke.
“We have great depth in many crucial positions, so should be covered when injury strike. The influx of youth excites me as these players have wonderful skills, particularly on attack.
“This will allow us a different approach in that department.
“A number of these youngsters has been exposed to senior rugby already and should hit the ground running in the Super Rugby competition.
“It was always part of the long term strategy for these youngsters to develop into Super Rugby players and I think we have managed that well.
“We have been working hard on a game plan and structure that will complement the playing staff we have.”
The Bulls will play one warm-up match next year, with the opponents for the match on January 24, still to be confirmed. The match is scheduled to be played in Polokwane.
The Blue Bulls XV will also play an invitational match against Saracens in London on January 31.
Bulls training squad:
Backs: Jesse Kriel, Duncan Matthews, Warrick Gelant, Jurgen Visser (Kriel and Gelant are with SA Sevens while Visser is injured and expected back on the field 5 January 2015), Akona Ndungane, Travis Ismaiel, Bjorn Basson, Jamba Ulengo, JJ Engelbrecht, William Small-Smith, Dries Swanepoel (Engelbrecht with SA Sevens, Swanepoel injured and expected back on the field 30 February 2015), Jan Serfontein, Ulrich Beyers, Dan Kriel, Burger Odendaal (Odendaal injured and expected back on the field 12 January 2015), Handre Pollard, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Tian Schoeman, Kobus Marais, Francois Hougaard, Piet van Zyl, Rudy Paige, Ivan van Zyl, Carlo Engelbrecht.
Forwards: Pierre Spies, Arno Botha (Spies and Botha are both injured and expected back on the field 5 January 2015), Hanro Liebenberg, Jacques du Plessis, Nardus van der Walt, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Engelbrecht, Deon Stegmann, Lappies Labuschagne, Roelof Smit, Victor Matfield, Grant Hattingh, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman. (Hattingh injured and expected back on the field 5 January 2015), Flip van der Merwe, Irne Herbst, Jason Jenkins. (Van der Merwe injured and expected back on the field 5 January 2015), Werner Kruger, Marcel van der Merwe, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Hencus van Wyk, Basil Short. (Van der Merwe injured and expected back on the field 1 December 2014, Van Wyk injured and expected back on the field 30 February 2015), Adriaan Strauss, Bandise Maku, Callie Visagie, Jaco Visagie, Arno van Wyk. (Callie and Jaco Visagie injured and expected back on the field 5 January 2015), Dean Greyling, Morne Mellett, Trevor Nyakane, Pierre Schoeman.