Bulls fight off overseas interest for Springbok hopeful as star trio re-sign

Jared Wright
Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar and director of rugby Jake White.

Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar and director of rugby Jake White.

The Bulls have retained the services of Springboks hopeful Johan Grobbelaar, with the hooker re-signing with the side despite overseas interest.

Grobbelaar was linked with a move to Irish province Munster ahead of the 2024/25 season but has instead opted to remain in Pretoria until at least June 2027.

Grobbies pens three-year extension

The Junior Springboks representative has been a rock in the middle of the Bulls‘ front-row and has been widely tipped to make his senior Test debut in 2024.

The 26-year-old has been invited to the Springboks alignment camps this year and could make his bow particularly with Malcolm Marx’s still recovering from the injury he sustained at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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Affectionately known as “Grobbies” at Loftus, the hooker has notched up 123 club appearances since making his debut with the U19s back in 2016 – a century (103) of those appearances has been in senior competitions.

“I am looking forward to the next three years because the extension was an easy decision for me when you look at the talent we have in the squad and the exceptional coaches, management and great sponsors; this is really a great club to be playing rugby at,” Grobbelaar said.

“I have been here for nine years and have had some great experiences and memorable highlights since arriving in 2016.

“Some great wins, some great tours, winning trophies, a cup here and there but the biggest highlight for me was earlier this year where – for the first time since I arrived – we managed to actually fill up Loftus, having all the support every weekend and the amazing support from our fans.”

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Bulls retaining and adding talent

Grobbelaar is not the only player to commit his future to the Bulls with rising prospect Jan-Hendrik Wessels re-signing with the side until 2026.

He is another who is on the Springboks’ radar for 2024, with the 23-year-old settling in at hooker after featuring at prop for the Bulls as well.

Lock Ruan Vermaak has also penned a new deal with the Bulls which will see him remain at Loftus until June 2027 having joined Jake White’s side back in mid-2022 from Japanese side, the Red Hurricanes.

The trio of re-signings comes after the Bulls announced the signing of Sharks playmaker Boeta Chamberlain on an initial two-year deal.

“We have signed Boeta from June this year and his arrival will give us variation and depth,” White said of Chamberlain’s signing.

“One of the things we want to get to, especially at 10 is to have players who can cover more than one position. When you have a guy, who can play in two different positions – especially on your bench – then you do not have to take your 10 off.

“This has worked for multiple teams and there is logic to good sides leaving their flyhalf on for as long as possible and your bench can either play at 10 or another position.”

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