The Bulls have made the best of what the Grey College 1st XV had over the past two seasons by contracting no less than five players for the 2021 junior squad.
In addition to the five players, the Director of Rugby, Jake White, also secured the services of the highly-rated coach, Wessel du Plessis, who enjoyed a highly successful spell and recorded two unbeaten seasons over the past two years.
Such was the quality of the team that it is nearly impossible to single out which one of the five lads is the better player.
The prop, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, was an absolute beast for Grey and SA Schools, while he successor, Tielman Niewoudt, was well on his way to reaching the same heights.
The pair will both be at the Bulls next season and it will come as no surprise if the pair play together for the Springboks in the near future.
Among the backs, Franco Knoetze is certainly a player who will excel at the Bulls, and any team in South Africa for that matter. His speed is one thing, however, his versatility is something very special indeed.
A year ago, Knoetze and Niewoudt reached legendary status during the annual interschools against Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch. First, Niewoudt put in a monstrous tackle to turn the ball over when Paul Roos were on the attack, then Knoetze ran through the hosts’ defence for the entire length of the field for a try that has already gone down in the history books.
Another very exciting signing by the team from Pretoria is that of the Grey and Free State schools outside back, Nabo Sokoyi. There is no doubt that the fleet-footed player would have played SA Schools this year. He has the rare ability to do everything at full speed and this is what will make him an asset to any team.
The last player added to their list is the scrumhalf, Tiaan Fourie. Fourie speeds up the game from the breakdown and as he has played flyhalf, he has a good understanding of reading the game and is excellent is his decision making.
Other players from the team that have been contracted at other unions and franchises include this year’s captain, Sisonke Vumazonke (Lions), Ricardo Fourie (Lions), Paschal Ekeji (Western Province) André-Hugo Venter (Western Province), George Cronjé (Cheetahs), Marcell Muller (Cheetahs), Lesley Botha (Cheetahs) and Juan-Dee Oliver (Cheetahs). – MORGAN PIEK