Pretoria - The Vodacom Bulls returned home to their Loftus Versfeld fortress on Monday with head coach Frans Ludeke terming their overseas tour a “success” even though they lost their outright lead at the top of the Super 14 log.
The loss to the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday continued a trend where the Bulls have never won the final match of a tour and also saw them slip behind the Crusaders on points difference into second place.
But back in their home at Loftus the Bulls will be a much more formidable prospect for any team arriving here – starting with the Lions on Saturday.
Thereafter the season has a tough run into the playoff rounds with matches against the Sharks, Crusaders and a mouth-watering trip to Cape Town to face the Stormers in the final round of the competition.
Ludeke, while being disappointed with the way the Bulls lost in Brisbane, said the team had put the game behind them and were looking ahead to the Lions clash, which now is significantly more important for them.
“We went flat out and it was a very tough contest. The Reds kept the ball well, forced turnovers but we put in a huge defensive effort and we were still in it in the last 10 minutes,” Ludeke said.
“We had an opportunity to finish off the game but we failed and the Reds were just better than us. The bonus point was great for us and as far as I’m concerned the tour was successful. The next game is the most important one for us and we have put Saturday behind us.”
Ludeke admitted though that his team needs to be smarter in certain situations and while they did lose their second game, they are still very much in contention for a home semifinal.
“We need to be smarter. We know the situation that we are in and it is up to everyone to work hard and get better,” Ludeke added. “We still back our systems and we are very much still in the race. We are well positioned and still very positive.”
“We had a good week ahead of the Reds game and made the necessary tactical shifts. We just needed to do things on the field and life was made difficult for us by the opposition and we could not implement what we wanted to.”
The team will have a light run this afternoon at Loftus, before getting down to the hard work on Tuesday.