Pretoria - Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has laid it on the line: Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup showdown with neighbours the Golden Lions is almost a season-decider for his team.
According to the supersport.com website, having won just one out of four games thus far, the Blue Bulls desperately need to reverse their fortunes and while their performance against Western Province was a lot better than their opening three games, they still couldn’t get a win in the game, despite dominating possession.
Ludeke has made it clear that the Bulls need to up their finishing, something that has been a difficult thing for them this season, and they need to take the points on offer when they are in control.
With that in mind, a win is non-negotiable for the team, as they look to turn their season around after taking two forty point losses in their opening two games.
“It’s almost a season decider for us,” Ludeke said. “they are also a side that play well, we need to lift our game more. We need to be accurate, with the same intensity and commitment for 80 minutes but we need to finish better. We need to get those tries, get over that line.”
Ludeke’s side had the worst start to the competition, and lost their first round encounter to the Lions at Ellis Park 41-13, falling behind early and being punished for turnover ball by the Lions counter-attack.
Since then the coach believes they have improved a lot, with combinations settling and will be much more competitive this weekend against their neighbours.
“We’re definitely closing in on that gap, we’re improving week by week. Last week was a significant improvement on the week before and our workrate was better. On the gainline we really found our rhythm and with our tackles we stopped their momentum. Our scrum was a huge improvement from the previous game and we take a lot of pride in that. It is a vital facet for us to take pride in.”
With Jesse Kriel and Hencus van Wyk ruled out of selection, the chances are that Bjorn Basson will make his way back to the team after recovering from injury, as will flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter, whose bout of tonsillitis on the back of a rib injury ruled him out of the Western Province game.
Potgieter is set to start with Tony Jantjies, who has recovered from concussion, set to take his place on the bench.
Ulrich Beyers is the last man standing at fullback, and is set to take his place with both Kriel, who was walking around with a moonboot on his ankle on Tuesday, and Jurgen Visser, who has undergone surgery on his ankle, ruled out of the game.
The Bulls are set to name their team on Thursday.