A good Currie Cup run to date, another Carlton Cup triumph for UP-Tuks and a new Springbok in Rudy Paige are notable on-field achievements.
But in this edition of the BLOU e-mag we look at matters and people involved with the team.
Burger Odendaal has been a revelation at centre after a good Super season. He is undoubtedly the form centre of the Currie Cup competition, and a video provides more insight.
Former Blue Bulls captain and Springbok Gary Botha tells how he enjoys his new role as forward consultant to the Bulls; and William Small-Smith remembers that first match against the Free State Cheetahs that put a new stamp om the Blue Bulls as a team that can play the running game..
Dan Lombard this time dissects the scrum laws and looks at the slip that may have cost the Springboks the Rugby Championship.
Few people are even aware that Pretoria Technical High School, which is a 100% Black schol, went through the season unbeaten and that they won a title in the Beeld Trophy competition.
Nice reading matter, and some very interesting videos await you in this edition!
In sports scientist Lee-Anne Diab's article she emphasises the individualising of load monitoring on a player which helps to monitor and prevent overuse injuries and assists in recovery. The role of the GPS is also discussed.
Shanil Mangaroo and Wim van der Berg
by Wim van der Berg
FOR the casual spectator who does not follow rugby as closely as the more ardent fans, the introduction of Vodacom Bulls centre Burger Odendaal to Absa Currie Cup rugby was a real eye-opener.
Solid and aggressive on defence, Odendaal does not shy away from physicality and is not afraid to take on the advantage line on attack. He has the added benefit of excellent hand skills that have seen him score or make some improbable tries.
The 22-year-old, 1,87m and 95kg, is physically as big as centres in these days have to be; has a solid head on his shoulders; and he has the attitude to make it all the way.
Pretoria Technical High School (PTHS) is based in the Inner City of Pretoria in Sunnyside, a stone's throw from the home of the Blue Bulls where every young Pretoria boy dreams of running onto the field one day in the revered blue jersey.
In 2013 PTHS was 'adopted' as a focus school by the Blue Bulls Rugby Union by Cluster manager in charge of the area, Adriaan Scheepers. The BBRU also instated a Rugby Coordinator system in that year, which had the duty of uplifting rugby in identified key areas of Pretoria.
Francois van Tonder, now head coach and rugby organiser of the school, was one of those appointed coordinators in 2013 and at first only assisted PTHS on a part-time basis.
In 2014 the team, known as the Tech Tigers, had an impressive record in winning 8 out of 11 matches during the season. They qualified for the Beeld Trophy play-offs for small schools and were eliminated in the quarterfinals against Alberton High from Johannesburg. The school was however crowned GDE Provincial Champions and runners-up for small schools in the province after losing to Cullinan in the final.
PTHS really made the step up in 2015 and started competing as a Middle School. The team maintained a 100 percent record for the season, winning all 15 their matches and even beating schools such as Sutherland and Gerrit Maritz who are both affiliated as Big Schools.
PTHS, which is a 100 percent black school qualified for the Beeld Trophy final and hosted a final for the first time in the schools 105-year history.
And they came away with the spoils, winning the title by beating President 17-10.
Head coach Van Tonder says his boys worked hard to get where they are.
"They deserve all the praise thus far, with some help from their dedicated sponsors and a concern such as SAIL, who is our main team sponsor; the BBRU; the school with their support; and a little help from our preferred supplement, Mannatech which improved performance and recovery during the season.
"I often tell my boys if you give a 100 percent, you will get 150 percent back, and our success is proof of that.
"SAIL has come on board as sponsor of the team in 2014. It has made a huge difference in many ways, and we look forward to continue building on our relationship with them and other role players," Van Tonder said.
The PTH U14s also made it to the quarterfinal of the Beeld Trophy after beating Lyttleton Manor to be crowned provincial champions, but were eliminated in their first Beeld match.
We are pleased with SAIL's involvement at PTHS. Two U19 school players from the project have recently been included in the Blue Bulls U19 training squad, and this emphasises the importance of the involvement of outside role players such as SAIL and of course the hard work of dedicated rugby personnel.: Johan Schoeman, General Manager of the BBRU: Dept Game Development.
Contributed by Dan Lombard
What stung even worse is that South Africa lost their dominance in the scrums when uncontested scrums were called by referee Jerome Garces in the 61st minute.
The whole affair was a tad confusing so BLOU has broken it down to make it more understandable. Vincent Koch, who had replaced Jannie du Plessis at tighthead, left the field for blood. Although he didnít show any signs of chest discomfort, it was discovered that Koch had popped a rib cartilage and he was substituted by Trevor Nyakane.
Nyakane, usually a loosehead prop who is equally at home at tighthead, was not allowed to pack down at tighthead and uncontested scrums were called to the detriment of South Africa.
Below are the parts of the scrum law pertinent to what occurred during the Test:
(Law 3.5 SUITABLY TRAINED AND EXPERIENCED PLAYERS IN THE FRONT ROW
(b) Prior to the match teams must advise the referee of their front row players and replacements. Each player in the front row and any potential replacements must be suitably trained and experienced.
(c) The replacement of a front row player must come from the suitably trained and experienced players who started the match or from nominated replacements. A player other than a nominated front row player is permitted to play in the front row only when uncontested scrums are being played and there are no available front row replacements.
(i) If a team does not have suitably trained front row players prior to the match so that contested scrums cannot take place the referee will order uncontested scrums.
(r) A previously substituted front row player is permitted to replace a front row player who is injured, temporarily suspended, or sent off if the replacement will ensure that scrums remain contested.
Judging by the law book World Rugby has gone to considerable lengths to ensure that scrums remain contested throughout the duration of a match.
The call of uncontested scrums in Johannesburg is therefore a baffling one for a simple a reason: Trevor Nyakane could and therefore should have played at tighthead as he is suitably trained to do so.
by William Small-Smith
It was fantastic to write an article the week after beating the Free State Cheetahs 57-19 in Bloemfontein in the opening game of the 2015 Currie Cup competition as there so much to write about!
Yes, we have since gone on to establish ourselves in the competition, but I want to concentrate on that first match.
It's strange how a single comprehensive victory shifted the momentum to right behind the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The previous week we were not regarded as even title contenders.
But that is the beauty of rugby, and that is why we love this game!
Coach Pine Pienaar, defence coach of the Vodacom Blue Bulls, says the Currie Cup is a sprint, not a marathon. "Because there are only 10 games and no bye weekends before the semi-finals, you don't have enough time to close the gap if you start slow," says Pienaar.
And that is exactly why the away victory against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein was such an important one. Not only did the Blue Bulls take the full five points, but we are on top of the log after week one (and week two and three!)
Now that's a good start!
In a 100m race, the start is very important, but also the 20m to 40m were the sprinters keep their heads down and work hard with their arms to get into their stride
just like we also have to keep our heads down and continue to work hard towards the finish line. The Currie Cup is only won on the October 24.
Newly selected Currie Cup captain of the Blue Bulls, Lappies Labuschagne can be very pleased with his opening week in charge. It must have been quite an experience beating his old side on their home field while in charge of his new team.
Lappies is a man who leads by example. He is a man of few words, but his word carries meaning. Talking a big game is easy, but delivering in that big game is what Lappies does best! In him the Blue Bulls have found what I call a warrior captain!
Now we need to continue building on our start, keep our heads down, and run a good race. Then the reward just might be the coveted Currie Cup!