Ngoza to lead Vodacom Blue Bulls in friendly against Hino Valke
Eighth man Freddy Ngoza will lead the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday against the Hino Valke when the two teams meet in a Currie Cup warm-up match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The former Free State Cheetahs player will make a first start for the home side, but a big number of players in the squad are home grown and bodes well for the junior structures of the union.
The team is a good mix between a number of players that excelled in the Vodacom Blue Bulls junior teams last year, some older hands and a sprinkling of new signings to the union.
Luther Obi (EP Kings) and Ngoza joined this year, while Tony Jantjies is also back in the mix after a stint in Port Elizabeth.
Coach Hendré Marnitz opted for Manie Libbok at flyhalf and expressed confidence in the 19-year old's ability to dictate play.
"The exciting part of coaching this team is the massive potential of these players. Manie was still at school last year, but reads the game like a veteran. These younger guys are very talented and is so keen to play and express themselves," Marnitz said.
"I am also keen to see how Freddy goes as captain and player. He shows good leadership in this group and the whole idea of warm-up matches is to see how successful your plays and ideas are. So there will be a number of boxes we want to tick against the Valke."
There is a good number of Under-20 players in the group, including Franco Naude, JT Jackson, PJ Toerien and Luigy van Jaarsveld, which shows the success of youth development and recruitment, says Xander Janse van Rensburg, High Performance Manager of the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd.
"The results of our junior teams in recent years and the high number of Junior Springboks from our structures is indicative of our ability to develop juniors, so this is pleasing to know that they will now also have a chance in Currie Cup rugby. Equally pleasing is the good representative profile of the side, something we are pretty keen to get right at the union," Janse van Rensburg said.
Kickoff is at 12h20.
The team is: Kefentse Mahlo, Luther Obi, Franco Naude, Dan Kriel, Jade Stighling, Manie Libbok, Theo Maree, Freddy Ngoza, PJ Toerien, Tapiswa Tsomondo, Irne Herbst, Le Roux Roets, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jan van der Merwe, Nqobisizwe Mxoli. Replacements: Njabulo Gumede, Entienne Swanepoel, Riekert Hattingh, Luigy van Jaarsveld, Hanco Venter, Kurt Webster, Tony Jantjies, JT Jackson, Ganfried May, Divan Rossouw.