Cape Town – The Bulls‘ plans to recruit a third Springbok ahead of next year’s Super Rugby tournament have failed.
Hot on the heels of the confirmation that hooker Schalk Brits and No 8 Duane Vermeulen would be plying their trade for the Pretoria franchise in 2019, comes the news that that fullback Willie le Roux will NOT be calling Loftus Versfeld home.
Instead, the 29-year-old will be staying at his English club, Wasps.
Blue Bulls Company high-performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg told the Rapport newspaper that ‘Wasps will not release Willie from his contract’.
Le Roux missed large parts of the current English season while on Springbok duty this year.
Le Roux has represented the Boks on 52 occasions and was the first-choice No 15 for national coach Rassie Erasmus in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Bulls’ plans to sign Toulouse prop Maks van Dyk were scuppered when he opted to extend his contract with the French club for another year.
Van Dyk, 26, educated at Paarl Boys, has made a name for himself since moving to France prior to the 2016/17 season having previously represented the SA Under-20 side as well as the Cheetahs and Griquas primarily in his home country.
The Bulls, looking to rebound from a disastrous 2018 Super Rugby campaign in which they finished bottom of the SA Conference with just six wins from 16 matches – and 12th (out of 15) in the overall log – have made numerous changes both on and off the field of late.
Besides the key signings of Brits and Vermeulen, Pote Human was named coach of the Super Rugby side following the departure of John Mitchell, while Alfonso Meyer has been brought in as CEO to replace the outgoing Barend van Graan.
In addition, Alan Zondagh has been named Director of Rugby at the union.
The Bulls will open their 2019 Super Rugby campaign against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, February 16.