SOUTH African Super Rugby franchise, the Vodacom Bulls are eager for another pre-season tour of Zimbabwe early next year, as part of their preparations for the 2017 Super Rugby season, following the success of their maiden visit to the country early this year. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Pretoria franchise released their pre-season schedule which includes a possible fixture against a yet-to-be-confirmed South African Super Rugby opponent on January 28 2017 in the capital.
The Bulls confirmed their possible return to Zimbabwe on their official website last week, while also revealing the imminent return of their talented flyhalf Handré Pollard after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“Flyhalf Handré Pollard will join the rest of the Vodacom Bulls squad on December 4 for a pre-season camp in George and is expected to make a return to the playing field on January 28 2017 when the Vodacom Bulls will face a South African Super Rugby opponent in Zimbabwe in their first match of the year,” the Bulls said in a statement.
“Pollard missed the 2016 season due to knee and shoulder injuries, but he is among a host of players, including midfielder Jan Serfontein, that have recovered well and will return to the squad at the training camp that will last till December 16.”
Pollard was part of the Bulls squad that toured Zimbabwe last year, although he didn’t feature in his team’s high-profile pre-season friendly against the Toyota Cheetahs at the National Sports Stadium on February 6.
The match, which was the first between Super Rugby outfits to be hosted by Zimbabwe, was preceded by a training camp in Victoria Falls.
Prior to the match, the two South African sides also took part in various activities such as conducting coaching clinics for young players in Victoria Falls, Mabvuku and Chitungwiza.
The visit by the two South African Super Rugby teams was organised by the local sports management company, Kyros Sports, while cement manufacturer, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe and financial services company Old Mutual Zimbabwe were some of the supporting sponsors.
The Bulls toured Zimbabwe for the first time in their history early this year where they set up a training camp in the resort town of Victoria Falls before playing the Cheetahs in a high-profile friendly at the National Sports Stadium on February 6.