Bulls announce training squad
The Bulls named a squad of 37 players to assemble in early January in Pretoria for a training camp to be held at Sun City during the weekend of 10-12 January 2014.
The squad was named after five weeks of pre-season training at Loftus Versfeld in preparation of next year's Super Rugby season, in which the Bulls must be considered outsiders to make the play-offs.
Despite losing a number of experienced players from their 2013 campaign to overseas clubs, the squad still consists of 14 Springboks and no less than eight players who have won the Super Rugby title with the Bulls in the past.
In releasing the names Bulls coach Frans Ludeke expressed satisfaction on the pre-season effort from the players.
"The guys work really hard over the last couple of weeks and I am happy with the progress we have made. We came up short in the semi-finals of the competition this year, so the squad is really determined to go one better next year," said Ludeke.
"We have a good mix of experience and youth and I am looking forward to the contributions we can expect from our younger generation of players next year."
The former champions have been given odds of 11/4 to win the South African conference by Paddy Power.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies praised the structures and culture of hard work at the franchise.
"It made it easy for the younger guys to fit in and we could start working toward our goals immediately," said Spies.
"It was also very pleasing to see that the older players still have the desire to work hard, so I think we are in a good spot with regards to our preparation for next year. The guys will enjoy the short break before we join up again."
Bulls Training Squad:
Props: Mornè Mellett, Dean Greyling, Frik Kirsten, Werner Kruger, Marcel van der Merwe
Hookers: Callie Visagie, Bandise Maku, Bongi Mbonambi
Locks: Flip van der Merwe, Paul Willemse, Grant Hattingh, David Bulbring
Loose Forwards: Deon Stegman, Wiaan Liebenberg, Arno Botha, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jacques du Plessis, Pierre Spies, Jono Ross
Scrumhalves: Francois Hougaard, Piet van Zyl, Rudy Paige
Flyhalves: Louis Fouchè, Handrè Pollard
Midfield: Jan Serfontein, Waylon Murray, JJ Engelbrecht, William Small-Smith
Outside backs: Bjorn Basson, Akona Ndungane, Sampie Mastriet, Travis Ismaiel, Jurgen Visser, Jesse Kriel, Clayton Blommetjies
Utility Backs: Ryan Nell, Ulrich Beyers
The Bulls also confirmed that Grant Hattingh and Jono Ross extended their contracts with the union till the end of October 2016.