Currie Cup

Ludeke backs loosies to fire

2014-09-18 21:00
Frans Ludeke (Gallo)

Pretoria - Blue Bulls eighthman Jono Ross will wear the captain's armband in the place of the suspended Deon Stegmann in Saturday's Currie Cup clash against the Sharks in Pretoria.

The Light Blues made four changes to the run-on side which claimed a crucial 28-13 victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.

Openside flanker Wiaan Liebenberg will earn a starting berth in the place of Stegmann, while hooker Callie Visagie has also been drafted into the starting XV at the expense of Bongi Mbonambi, who moves to the bench.

"Wiaan has always been part of it.

"The loose forward combination was starting to work for us, forcing some turnovers and creating opportunities on attack," Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said at the team announcement in Pretoria on Thursday.

"He will come in and Jono will take over as captain. Steggies is a special player but we know Wiaan will be able to do the job for us."

Two more changes were made to the backline with Rudy Paige taking over the scrumhalf responsibilities from Piet van Zyl, while Sampie Mastriet has been selected on the wing in the place of Akona Ndungane.

With only four matches left before the playoffs, Ludeke reiterated how important it was for his side to win on Saturday.

"The last four games are the final phase of the competition before the playoffs, and every single one of them will count," he said.

"It starts with this weekend, where we need to be at our best.

"We feel like we've picked up a lot of momentum. We've got some accuracy back into our game and that is what we will need over the weekend."

With only two points separating the fourth-placed Sharks from the Bulls in sixth, the hosts could move up the ladder into a favourable playoff position.

The Bulls have won two matches on the trot and will be looking to take advantage of an inconsistent and vulnerable looking Sharks side.

Ludeke said while the Sharks' tendency to spread the ball wide would pose a defensive challenge, there were some areas of their game which could leave them exposed.

"They've made the most mistakes in the competition so far, so there are some opportunities for us, especially because they play a high risk game.

"We just have to be accurate and it will take a massive effort on defence. But we've had a taster against other teams that use the same strategy."

The Bulls' bench would be bolstered by the return of Jesse Kriel, who had recovered from an ankle injury, while Morné Mellet was back in the mix after knee rehabilitation.

Tian Schoeman would be the back-up flyhalf in place of Tony Jantjies.


Blue Bulls
15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jesse Kriel

15. SP Marais, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Conrad Hoffmann, 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. JC Astle, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick

Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Danie Mienie, 18. Johan Meyer, 19. Khaya Majola, 20. Cameron Wright, 21. Tim Swiel, 22. Tonderai Chavhanga 


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