Bulls clearout follows Jake White spending spree

Johannesburg (AFP) –


South African Super Rugby club the Northern Bulls continued a clearout on Friday by releasing prop forward Wiehahn Herbst, a few days after ditching captain and centre Burger Odendaal.

Hooker Jaco Visagie has also been released by the Pretoria outfit, and all three players have joined the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Backs Warrick Gelant, Johnny Kotze, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw and Rosko Specman and former Scotland loose forward Josh Strauss have also left the three-time Super Rugby champions.

Bulls coach Jake White, who guided South Africa to the 2007 Rugby World Cup title in France, went on a hiring spree after being hired in March, signing 10 players.

Among those he brought to Pretoria was number eight Duane Vermeulen, a key figure in the Springboks team that defeated England to win the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Other former internationals to join include backs Gio Aplon and Travis Ismaiel and forwards Arno Botha, Nizaam Carr and Marcel van der Merwe.

Odendaal said he was shocked when told he did not feature in the plans of White, who has coached Super Rugby sides in South Africa and Australia, and Montpellier in France.

- Achieved only one win -

White replaced Pote Human, who guided the Bulls to the 2019 Super Rugby quarter-finals, but achieved only one win in six games before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus.

"I recently extended my contract (by two years), but after the change of management I was informed that I was not part of the plans going forward," Odendaal said.

"It came as a shock and I did not take it well -- it was not a nice feeling being told I was surplus to requirements.

"Although I bear no grudges against the Bulls, I have not enjoyed my last couple of weeks there."

Meanwhile, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby runners-up the Lions have also signed EW Viljoen from English Premiership club Leicester Tigers.

Viljoen struggled to make an impact at Leicester, making only four appearances after joining last year from the Western Stormers, another South African Super Rugby team.

New Zealand and Australia have resorted to domestic Super Rugby competitions, and South Africa are hoping to follow suit.

The Bulls, Lions and Stormers are among the leading eight professional teams in the republic who will begin non-contract training next week in the hope of playing during August.