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Bulls land Baby Bok skipper on long-term deal

NEWS: JF van Heerden has signed his first senior professional contract with the Bulls after an impressive 2023/24 debut season with the Tshwane-based outfit.

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The 20-year-old has signed a three-year deal which will see him call Loftus Versfeld his home until June 2027.

Van Heerden, a Grey College alumnus represented the Free State at Craven Week where he impressed and earned a call-up into the 2022 SA Under-18 schools team as well as the Under-18 team that was crowned victors in the subsequent International Series later in that year.

The imposing lock graduated into the Junior Boks setup where he has won seven caps and captained against Australia in the recent SANZAAR Under=-20 championship.

Van Heerden arrived at Loftus in 2023, where he slotted into the Under-20 setup and made six appearances for the franchise before earning the invite to form part of the senior setup at the beginning of the 2023/24 season.

The lanky forward has since made six further appearances across the Champions Cup and the United Rugby Championship.

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“The franchise has a really good program that they are running and I have personally grown a lot in this program,” Van Heerden said.

“I am excited to see what the next three years will do for me over the next three years,” he added.

“There are a lot of good guys who are easy to work with and that is exciting.

“There are a few young guys who I can relate to and we can go a long way with, that is exciting for me. There are also a few experienced guys who I can learn from.”

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“My biggest highlight so far was the victory over the Stormers, getting the opportunity to come off the bench in front of a full Loftus was quite special for me.

“I am looking forward to getting better, settling in at the franchise and being a part of a squad that can go all the way and win the United Rugby Championship.”

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