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Chiliboy signs, but Bulls lose Akona at S. Africa's Super Rugby

06-03-2011 15:24 BJT

JOHANNESBURG, June 2 (Xinhua) -- There was a dose of good and bad news for the Vodacom Bulls on Thursday as they prepared for Friday night's crucial Super Rugby game against the Waratahs.

Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle confirmed he had signed to stay on at the defending champions until 2013, a move that will bring a sigh of relief from both Springbok and Bulls fans with a big exodus of senior players looming.

But on the field there was bad news, with Springbok Akona Ndungane forced to pull out of the match squad after failing a fitness test. He will be replaced by Gerhard van den Heever for the Waratahs game, with Stephan Dippenaar coming onto the bench.

The late setback won't disrupt the Bulls, as Van den Heever has been in good form when he has appeared in the Blue Jersey and will relish another opportunity.

Meanwhile Ralepelle's signature means that the Bulls now have two top hookers for next season signed after they earlier secured the signature of Former Lions and Clermont hooker Willie Wepenaar.

The Springbok hooker, who has played in 18 test matches and 32 Super Rugby matches for the Vodacom Bulls, will stay at Loftus Versfeld till October 2013.

"I have played for the Blue Bulls since high school, became a Springbok here and won numerous titles with this team. I am happy to add my weight to those who want to make sure that the Bulls remain a powerhouse. This is my home and my family," Ralepelle said in a statement.

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was pleased with the news.

" Chiliboy is one of our leaders in the team, works very hard and brings international experience to the side. His continued presence will help the Bulls to maintain the high standards they want to achieve off and on the field," Ludeke said.

The Bulls are set to lose a number of senior players including captain Victor Matfield (retiring), Boks Fourie du Preez, Danie Rossouw (Japan), Bakkies Botha (Toulon), Gurthro Steenkamp ( Toulouse) and probably hooker Gary Botha.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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