Head coach Frans Ludeke has announced that Deon Stegmann will captain the Blue Bulls in their Currie Cup campaign and named a strong 26 man squad for Friday's warm-up match against the Pumas in Nelspruit.
The 28-year old Stegmann will lead the team in the clash that will start at 17h00 at the Mbombela Stadium.
"It was an easy decision to call on 'Steggies' to lead the team this year," Ludeke said.
"He is not only one of the most experienced players in the squad, but also one that leads by example on and off the field. We have a lot of younger players coming through from our structures and it is important to have a senior player who understands the Blue Bulls ethos and work ethic, to guide and mould them into that culture. "
Stegmann made his Blue Bulls debut in 2007 and has played in 54 provincial matches.
"We are very fortunate to have Steggies around to do just that, admits Ludeke.
"He has won test caps with the Springboks, the Super Rugby title with the Bulls and the Currie Cup with the Blue Bulls, so is living proof of the successes at the province. As a natural leader, the squad respects him and will follow him into battle," Ludeke said.
"We are determined to be the championship side this year and Steggies shares that drive and belief. He wants to win the Currie Cup again and there is no doubt in my mind that he will get the whole squad to share that mission and to work together to achieve it."
Ludeke named a 26-man squad to travel to Nelspruit for a final warm-up match. Twenty two of the players saw action in the recent Super Rugby competition.
The Blue Bulls open their 2014 campaign against the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on August 9th.
Blue Bulls squad :
Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, William Small-Smith, Burger Odendaal, Sampie Mastriet, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Piet van Zyl, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jono Ross, Deon Stegmann (c), Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Morne Mellett, Hencus van Wyk, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Wiaan Liebenberg, Nardus van der Walt, Rudy Paige, Tony Jantjies, JJ Engelbrecht, Ulrich Beyers, Jesse Kriel.