JOHANNESBURG - There is turmoil at Loftus and winning the Currie Cup would go a long way in lifting the dark clouds that have hung over the franchise and union, according to Blue Bulls coach Pote Human.
The most successful South African franchise in Super Rugby with three titles and the second most successful union in domestic rugby are without a director of rugby and head coach for Super Rugby after John Mitchell walked out on them last month.
Mitchell’s departure has brought about much speculation on who will take over the reins at Loftus with the likes of Southern Kings coach Deon Davids, Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse, Western Province coach John Dobson, former Springbok and Bulls captain Victor Matfield among the names touted for the position.
However, there has been no official confirmation from the Bulls regarding the vacancies left by Mitchell further fuelling rumours that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus could play a consultative role in coaching the team in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
To add to this, the Blue Bulls Company stands on shaky ground as they frantically search for a worthy successor to outgoing long-time servant and chief executive officer Barend van Graan who retires at the beginning of next year.
Adding to the uncertainty at Loftus are the confirmed unavailability of top administrators Duitser Bosman, Jacques Faul and Rudolph Straeuli to take over from Van Graan which could leave the Bulls in dire straits as they look for an experienced rugby administrator to captain their stricken ship. After last tasting Currie Cup glory in 2009, Human believes that beating Province and hosting a Currie Cup semi-final could go a long way in seeing silverware return to Loftus.
“It would be great for the Bulls franchise to make the semis and get into the final, because 2009 was the last time we won the Currie Cup. We can make history and it is a big occasion, but we are just focussing on the process and the score will look after itself,” said Human this week.
Kotze temporary release to Ospreys— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) October 11, 2018
The Blue Bulls Company would like to confirm that Johnny Kotze will be heading to Wales to join the Ospreys for a period of 3 months.
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While the Bulls came desperately close to winning the Currie Cup two years ago when they lost to the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, they could become title contenders again if they are to end the defending champions’ unbeaten run this weekend at home. Victory for the Bulls against WP and a loss for the Sharks against Griquas in Kimberley could see the Bulls host a semi-final after last doing so in 2016.
The men from the capital have featured in the last four semis after missing out in 2013 and playing at home this time around could be the spark that they need to ignite their dream of bringing the Currie Cup trophy back to Loftus and lifting the anguish, despair and pain of the past nine years.
Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls Company have confirmed the signing of Springbok Sevens star Rosko Specman until 2020 with Edgar Marutlulle, Johan Grobbelaar, Divan Rossouw and Franco Naude also extending their stays at Loftus for a further two years.
“Specman is definitely a quality signing for us and we look forward to his contributions at Loftus Versfeld as we start our preparations for next season. His experience and X-factor will be invaluable and we are excited to see him making his mark in blue. He however now has a vital role to still play for the Blitzboks and we wish him well there and look forward to welcoming him in January 2019,” said BBC High Performance manager Janse van Rensburg.
“We are also pleased that the players already in our system are opting to recommit, this shows their belief in remaining part of the #BullsFamily. Their contributions are pivotal in building a strong squad as we have to find the balance between experience and tomorrow’s stars. With our depth, experience and quality I do believe we have what it takes to be title contenders.”