Currie Cup

Ludeke's optimism growing

2014-10-12 15:00
Frans Ludeke (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - The Blue Bulls may have made a stuttering start to their season, but they finished the Currie Cup round-robin stage with a flourish with a 46-12 victory over Griquas in their at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Their performance may suggest the Light Blues were peaking at the right time, though they still had two more hurdles to overcome to claim the coveted title for the first time in four years starting with their semi-final clash against Western Province in Cape Town next Saturday.

"We feel things are starting to come together, and we would like to make sure that we put everything together next week with a good performance there," Ludke said.

"The season started to come together slowly but surely and especially last week against the Pumas there was something different to the side and you could see how they reacted to the pressure situations." A hat-trick of tries to Bulls flyer Bjorn Basson capped a superb evening for the winger, who was on top of his game under the high ball and on the chase.

While the they started out slowly against a determined Griquas side in the first half, the Bulls' patience finally paid off in the second half as they added three more tries to their tally.

The Bulls, however, suffered a serious injury blow in the first half with inside centre Burger Odendaal - possibly the find of the season for the Bulls - leaving the field clutching his arm.

Ludeke said Odendaal possibly suffered a fracture which would rule him out for the playoffs and leave a dent in the midfield.

Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard, showed his class in the 15 minutes he was on the park scoring a try and playing a major role in the final five-pointer, could slot in at inside centre if need be.

The other option is for fullback Ulrich Beyers to move to the midfield with Jesse Kriel taking his place in the last line of defence.

"Burger made a huge step-up when it was needed in the midfield, he really made a difference this season," Ludeke said.

"He is a creative player and he is a threat on the gainline, so it is a pity that he won't take part in the playoffs, but hats off to him for what he's done this season." Ludeke praised his charges for pulling through after a shaky start to the season and ensuring they reached their target.

"We knew beforehand and that was always one of our goals to be in the final four, so it is great and we really had to work hard," he said.

"There were also a lot of blessings, we didn't have a lot of injuries and to be able to come back from that almost back-to-the-wall situation.

"It showed the great character of the side and reflected the leadership in terms of how the senior players kept it together and fought it out." The Bulls mentor said while there were a few mistakes that kept Griquas in the game in the first half, it was nothing to fret about.

"Tonight was our final run before the playoffs, in the first half we had a lot of opportunities, we made mistakes but I think it is more eagerness, the guys really wanted to make a difference," Ludeke said.

"We knew in the second half if we just kept creating those opportunities and if we were a little bit more accurate the result would come"

Read more on:    blue bulls  |  currie cup  |  frans ludeke  |  pretoria  |  rugby

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