Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Pretoria - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke expects his midfielder Johann Sadie to take a massive step up this weekend and show his potential for his side.
Sadie didn’t last long in his only outing for the Pretoria side in this year’s Super Rugby series, playing just 15 minutes against the Sharks before going off with a shoulder injury.
And while he makes his long-awaited return on Saturday against the defending champion Reds, there is some rising expectation as to what he can bring to the Bulls backline this weekend.
This expectation jumped a few notches after coach Ludeke indicated he believed this weekend’s match would be won in the midfield.
“Everything happens in the midfield,” Ludeke said, “and if you control it, you control the game. If your midfield combination can defend under pressure and get you over the advantage line, then the whole team does well. It is these basic things that we look for.
“We are a team that plays an effective, basic game plan and we look to build momentum before we do anything fancy, we know the rewards will come later and that’s what we look for in the combination.”
Much is expected from Sadie on the field this season and it is widely accepted that he will be a Bok contender if he fulfils his potential.
“We back our structures and Johann is a good player who has special skills and can see a gap in the opposition with ease. We saw this with him as a junior and at the Stormers. He defends well and he knows how to finish off a move, and finds gaps easily. Those are traits we look for in any player.”
Ludeke said even though the Reds had injuries, he was still wary of the threat they posed as defending Super Rugby champions.
“They’re the Super Rugby champions and we respect that. We know how it feels when teams come for you. They played well this season and last week was a close contest,” he added.
“They play a lot like the South African sides, they have a very direct style and are good at the breakdown. We are aware of their strengths but we also need the result on the weekend. We will want to put points on the board as quickly as possible and look to bolt from there.”