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Bulls confirm new coaching ticket with ex-Ireland forwards coach at helm

By Kim Ekin
Gert Smal (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Former Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal has confirmed his new coaching tickets as he lead the Bulls in their Carling Currie Cup title defence.

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The Tshwane-based side last month announced the arrival of former Springbok assistant coach, Smal, at Loftus to spearhead the team for the campaign.

A giant 6’6, 120kg Springbok flanker in his playing days; the 59-year-old was assistant coach to current Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, during the successful era which led to the Springboks winning the 2007 World Cup in France.

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Smal further held the role of assistant coach for Ireland from 2008 until 2013 before assuming a position as director of rugby at DHL Western Province. Most recently, he has been coaching at Japanese club, Toyota Verblitz as forwards coach.

The former Bok flanker will be ably assisted by a new coaching staff in the campaign which kicks off with a visit to Mbombela on Friday where the Vodacom Bulls will face the Pumas.

Former Vodacom Bulls Under-20 coaches Pine Pienaar (defence coach), Hayden Groepes (backs and attack coach), Edgar Marutlulle (scrum coach) will take up their reins in the Carling Currie Cup team.

“We are privileged at the Vodacom Bulls to have a number of talented coaches within our structures,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White. “A knowledgeable coach like Gert will certainly find comfort in being surrounded by an experienced coach like Pine Pienaar, a hard-working and committed individual like Hayden Groepes and one of the most promising player-turned-coach in Edgar Marutlulle.

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“We have no doubt that this team of coaches and the squad of players that we have will continue to fly the Vodacom Bulls flag high in the Carling Currie Cup this year.”

BULLS COACHING TICKET:
Head Coach: Gert Smal
Defence Coach: Pine Pienaar
Backs & Attack Coach: Hayden Groepes
Scrum Coach: Edgar Marutlulle

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M
Morne 9 hours ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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