Louis Ludik: Au revoir SA

2013-11-12 15:30
Louis Ludik (Gallo Images)
Durban - Sharks fullback and centre Louis Ludik departed for France at the conclusion of a successful Currie Cup campaign, allowing him to leave Durban with a sense of accomplishment ahead of a new chapter in his life, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.

He arrived at the Sharks following a horrific injury sustained at the Lions and was unable to make an immediate impact, spending his early time in rehab. But once he started playing, he became an integral part of the team.

“Playing for the Sharks was by far, absolutely the best experience of my life,” he explained before he left for France, where he will be playing for Agen alongside former Sharks lock Ross Skeate. “Obviously there were a lot of challenges, being the only non-Bok made it tough sometimes to get into the squad - and stay in especially.

“But it was an amazing experience to play with such good players. There were challenges, but I loved being here. There were a lot of expectations riding on our success, from ourselves and the public, which meant we could never relax. But that’s the life of a professional rugby player.”

The only aspect that he doesn’t see as a positive is not fulfilling his Springbok aspirations and that contributed to his decision-making process. “I came to the Sharks with the dream of becoming a Springbok, and unfortunately that didn’t work out,” he pointed out. “The decision to go over to France was made much easier when it was communicated to me that I was not really in the Bok plans.”

Having made his debut for the Sharks in the 2010 Currie Cup after moving to Durban from the Lions, he tasted success right away. “Winning the Currie Cup that year was one of the highlights of my time with the Sharks,” he admitted.

“Last year too was very special for us as a team and for me personally too, it was awesome. Touring, playing well, winning, it was really nice to be a part of the Super Rugby campaign. And then getting into the Currie Cup final again. It was a good season for me. It was my favourite year of all, one I will never forget.”

But time and opportunities march on and when the offer to go to France came, it was something he had to consider.

“The decision to stay or go was a huge one for us to make. We prayed a lot, it was a long process which was actually a blessing in disguise as we didn’t have like one week to pack up and go. The Sharks wanted me to play out the last six months of my contract and Agen were cool about that, for me to finish the Currie Cup. The extra time meant we were able to pack up, we get to take our dogs with and we got to send our furniture over early.

“It will be a challenge with the colder weather, especially after this wonderful weather in Durban, but it’s something you have to deal with. But I am looking forward to going, they were willing to sign me at the beginning of 2012 for this year, and I visited there a couple of months ago to check it all out and they treated me professionally and with respect. I was very impressed.”

While he left on an exciting note, it was bittersweet. He will retain very fond memories of that part of his life spent in Durban.

“I will never forget my time with the Sharks though. This is the best union in the country, by far. The union that takes the best care of its players, they realise that their players are their biggest assets and they make it special for us.

“It was the best time, I was living the dream.”

Read more on:    sharks  |  louis ludik  |  durban  |  rugby

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