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    Frans Ludeke chats to Sport24

    2014-05-08 12:03
    Cape Town - Bulls coach FRANS LUDEKE answers YOUR questions. He talks blooding young talent, embracing attack and hosting the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday...

    Joshua van Vuren asked: Which is tougher and why? Managing a squad of rugby players or looking after your triplets at home?

    Frans Ludeke: (Chuckle). In truth, I regard both as a blessing. As far as the coaching side is concerned, I see myself as a servant to the game and I believe it’s all about the players. My philosophy is that a clear plan and a happy camp is always a winning combination.

    Dewald Oosthuizen asked: Why do the Bulls kick so much? They look great with ball in hand and I believe they should only kick when they can take lineout and drive a maul in order to score tries...

    Frans Ludeke: Our intention is to also focus on attack as I believe any side requires an all-round game to be successful. There’s definitely been a greater recent emphasis on attack from South African sides, especially those that have returned from tour. However, the objective is not to throw the ball around from everywhere; a team must be smart in their management of ball possession.

    Fred Steinberg asked: When will you make way for new blood?

    Frans Ludeke: I believe this process has already begun. The likes of Handré Pollard, William Small-Smith and Marcel van der Merwe, for instance, did very well against the Cheetahs and contribute to our side in a massive way. If we look at Handré’s performance in particular, I was really impressed with the way in which he bounced back after that intercept pass and yellow card. He showed a lot of maturity which is very encouraging. In terms of William, it’s great to have a player of his quality to be able to grow our depth at centre. This week, he will be utilised as an impact player off the bench... Strategy has a lot to do with selection. However, I must say that it’s been a tricky challenge rewarding talented youngsters this season, while maintaining tried-and-tested combinations.

    Johann Lourens asked: Why do you pick Jono Ross every week? He is clearly not a fetcher…

    Frans Ludeke: While someone like Deon Stegmann (currently out injured) is a specialist at the breakdown, I must stress that playing towards the ball and securing turnovers is a team effort. While I believe Jono can still work a little bit on his stealing technique – such as a low body position – he’s an openside flanker with an impressive workrate. If we take the Sharks’ Marcell Coetzee as an example, while he was more of a ball carrier and less of a traditional fetcher in previous seasons, he’s really grown into the latter role and I have no doubt that Jono will do the same.

    Warren J. Adamson asked: Do you prepare a team depending on the opposition as well as the referee? Some coaches have said that they tweak their game plan to suit the referee...

    Frans Ludeke: What we do is have a discussion with the respective referee ahead of the game in order to understand what his focus points are, which in turn helps a team make small adjustments. During the game, a side also has to adapt to the way in which the referee blows the game. For instance, we were offside with the referee this past weekend in terms of early scrum engagement and had to adjust accordingly during the match in order to gain stability at the set-piece. Craig Joubert will make some crucial decisions this Saturday and as such, it’s vital to maintain good communication with him. World class players are able to adjust to the referee on game day and make smart decisions. While it’s not a case of all the calls going in one’s favour, it’s key to build a solid rapport with referees.

    Frank Montgomery asked: The Bulls have conceded quite a number of penalties and free kicks at scrum time. Is this a point of concern?

    Frans Ludeke: Yes, there have been a lot of penalties and free kicks awarded in general and as result, teams must become more disciplined. From a Bulls’ perspective, I believe we are improving in this regard and are all for the hard-line approach which has been adopted at setpiece. In many ways, the scrum is a science and the front row contest is a battle within a battle. This season, referees have definitely been more accurate in terms of their application and it’s now all about a ball-in and ball-out approach... The scrum will always remain a vital facet in the game for backs to attack from.

    Jason Kelland asked: What are you expecting from the Stormers at Fortress Loftus this Saturday?

    Frans Ludeke: The Stormers are a quality side and I took note of the more attacking mindset which the employed against the Highlanders. While they gave the ball air, they still maintained their discipline and played for field position. We have had some tough North-South derbies over the years and I expect Saturday night to prove no different. In terms of our own preparation, we build our plan throughout the week. For example, on a Monday we focus on all-round phase play and strategy, a Tuesday is reserved for ways to stop our respective opponent defensively and a Wednesday offers an opportunity for us to hone our attack.


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