|The Blue Bulls have been the front runners in developing young talent over the last few years and the junior teams have performed consistently well at national level and with the Resolution Health High Performance Centre launch on Wednesday, it was not difficult to see why.
Major stakeholders, members of the Blue Bulls Company and of course, the young residents of the Centre were on hand to sample the introduction and it immediately became clear from under-20 assistant coach Ashley Evert’s speech that major strides had already been taken.
What distinguishes the Resolution Health High Performance Centre (HPC) from other similar projects is its unique focus on the specific needs of South African rugby. It takes into account the local setup and demographics of the country and all programmes are designed accordingly.
In addition the centre also has the interests of the Blue Bulls as one of its main focal points. In this regard, the Blue Bulls have been unique in the South African context in retaining its young talent through to senior level.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the spirit of camaraderie and loyalty that is fostered in the Blue Bulls setup is contagious and breeds commitment to the combined cause of the province. Secondly, all sides follow the same training programmes and patterns, which means that the fast track to senior representation is smoothed out and juniors can be called up for service at any time. All the coaches at the Blue Bulls constantly interact to ensure this.
The physical development of young players is of paramount importance to the programme and national under-21 coach Pieter de Villiers recently confirmed that the physical condition of the young Blue Bulls is miles ahead of the other unions.
In addition, the HPC provides mental and emotional support for the players and it also provides mental and emotional support programmes and individual, position-specific training.
The physical condition of the players is further aided by the excellent accommodation and nutrition provided by the HPC.
In the short time of its existence, the HPC has already produced the following results:
Basil de Doncker: SA under-19, EP Currie Cup.
Martin Engelbrecht: SA under-19, Blue Bulls under-20.
Adriaan Fondse: SA under-21.
Jeandré Fourie: SA under-19, Blue Bulls under-20, Pumas Currie Cup
Carel Hoffman: SA under-19, Blue Bulls Currie Cup, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls under-20 (captain).
Clemen Lewis: SA under-19, Blue Bulls under-20.
Wynand Olivier: SA under-21, Bulls squad, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls Currie Cup squad.
Scott Mathie: SA under-19, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls Currie Cup, Blue Bulls under-20.
Deon Venter: SA under-19, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup.
Callie Wannenburg: SA under-19, Pumas Currie Cup.
Dwight Mattheus: Maties 1
Gerrit van Heerden: Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls under-20
Janro van Niekerk Boland Currie Cup, Blue Bulls under-21.
Wium Arlow: SA Schools, SA under-19, Blue Bulls.
Hennie Daniller: SA Schools, SA under-19, SA under-21, Bulls, Blue Bulls.
Cliff Milton: SA Schools, SA under-21.
Luvo Sogidashe: SA under-19, SA under-21.
Morné Steyn: SA ‘A’, Blue Bulls Currie Cup, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls under-20.
Brendan Snyman: Blue Bulls under-20.
First years 2004
Marius Delport: SA Schools, SA under-19, SA under-21, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup.
Pieter Spaumer: SA Schools.
Pierre Spies: SA under-19.
Wilhelm Steenkamp: SA Schools.
Adriaan Strauss: SA Schools, SA under-19.
Danie van der Merwe: SA under-19, Blue Bulls.
Gert van Wyk: Tuks under-20.
Tiaan de Kock: Tuks under-20
Dylan Des Fountain: Blue Bulls.
Luyanda Madiba: Tuks under-20.
Gerč Maree: Tuks under-20.
National and Senior Provincial Achievements
SA Schools: 15 players
SA under-19: 15 players
SA under-21: 5 players
SA ‘A’: 1 player
Bulls (Super 12): 2 players
Currie Cup teams: 11 players
Vodacom Cup Teams: 8 players