Bulls set to confirm big signings
Brenden Nel, SuperSport
Pretoria - The Bulls are set to confirm two big name signings and lose one top player, all in the same week.
The supersport.com website reports that while the Bulls have kept mum on their acquisitions since the end of their Super Rugby season, they are on the verge of announcing the coup of Cheetahs duo Trevor Nyakane and Lappies Labuschagne, having beaten off heavy interest from other provinces.
Information from sources close to the Bulls has confirmed that both contracts are apparently already signed, with the Bulls set to announce them still this week.
This comes after supersport.com revealed earlier this year that Nyakane was negotiating with the Bulls, while the Stormers made a big play for his services.
Yet while there still isn’t finality on Adriaan Strauss joining the Bulls, Frans Ludeke’s side have resigned themselves to losing top hooker Bongi Mbonambi to the Stormers as from the end of the season.
Strauss told supersport.com on Tuesday he had still not made a final decision, but would do so this week. However Mbonambi has already informed the Bulls he will not be staying in Pretoria after being forced to play second fiddle to Callie Visagie all season.
While the Bulls will be celebrating the signatures of Nyakane and Labuschagne, and could well take Strauss as well, losing Mbonambi was inevitable after promises made of game time were made to the former SA under-20 hooker that weren’t kept and despite making more of an impact on the field than Visagie, he was continually ignored.
With Strauss’ impending arrival, it was obvious that Mbonambi would move backwards in the queue for game time, and has a better chance of competing with Scarra Ntubeni at the Stormers for a starting spot.
Strauss’ position is still not clear. Renewed interest from Bloemfontein, where the Cheetahs are said to have significantly upped their offer for him, coming close to matching the Bulls and the intervention of several businessmen has made the decision a lot more difficult.
While Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg declined to comment on the signings and both Nyakane and Labuschagne’s agent BC du Plessis failed to return calls and messages, both seem sure to head to Loftus.
Nyakane will have some competition as the Bulls already have Dean Greyling, Morne Mellet and Marcel van der Merwe on their books while Labuschagne will compete at blindside with Jacques du Plessis and Arno Botha, or with Deon Stegmann if they decide to make him an openside flank.
It seems that Bandise Maku, who previously asked for a release from the Bulls, has decided to stay at the union.