LIVE

    Ludeke: Bulls a step closer

    2013-02-08 12:21

    Pretoria - The Bulls are nearing the end of their pre-season preparations and will take a step closer to where they want to be against the Cheetahs in a warm-up clash on Saturday, according to head coach Frans Ludeke.

    Ludeke made wholesale changes to the side that beat the Lions 38-32 in the inaugural Gauteng Rugby Cup at Orlando Stadium last week, with only fullback Jurgen Visser remaining in the starting lineup.

    The reshuffle sees first team regulars like skipper Pierre Spies, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Dewald Potgieter and Bjorn Basson returning to the fold, making their first appearances of the season ahead of the start of the Super Rugby competition which kicks off later this month.

    "Our preparations have been exactly the same as in the past. We had areas that we identified where we wanted to improve and be more accurate," Ludeke said ahead of their final pre-season encounter in Polokwane.

    "We made a few adjustments and that all has to happen in the pre-season. In the last two or three weeks especially we have arrived at where we want to be in terms of preparation. The players have reacted fantastically to that.

    "We are looking forward to the season, everyone is waiting for the start, but it has been good for us to have these pre-season games to test where we are before starting the season as a group."

    Ludeke believed the Cheetahs would pose a formidable threat and expected the Bulls to be tested at set-pieces, after the Free State side rebounded from a loss to the Lions a fortnight ago, with a 27-26 win over the fancied Stormers in Bloemfontein last week.

    "They played a lot better than when they played against the Lions. Suddenly their scrum was sorted out, their rolling maul movements were also effective on the day," he said.

    "They keep the ball, they play and they are positive. When they get onto the front foot, they can put you under a lot of pressure.

    "We can also see they have a few new combinations, but they played really well against the Stormers last weekend."

    Meanwhile, Spies was looking forward to being back on the field with his team and believed the Bulls had become a unified outfit after the disappointment of last year's Super Rugby campaign, where the Pretoria outfit reached the playoffs, but were beaten by the Crusaders in the qualifier playoffs.

    "It's the first game for a lot of us so it's important that we focus on what we want to achieve. We have to go out there and execute our plan," Spies said.

    "Our team is a year older and a bit more experienced. The players are also a bit more settled in their positions, as is the group.

    "It's definitely going to make my job a bit easier, the chemistry in the team is very good.

    "They guys are a lot more comfortable around each other and things are flowing easier than last year."

    Meanwhile, the Lions, dropped from this year's Super Rugby series, host new boys the Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon, while the Stormers face the Boland Cavaliers in Cape Town.

    The Sharks were set to kick-off the weekend's friendly matches with a clash against the Leopards in Pietermaritzburg.

    Read More On:  bulls super 15 frans ludeke rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    41 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Most Read
    Commented
    /Sport

    Fixtures

    13 February 2015
    • Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels, Christchurch 08:35
    • Brumbies v Reds, Canberra 10:40
    • Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg 19:10
    14 February 2015
    • Blues v Chiefs, Albany 08:35
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 17:05
    • Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria 19:10
    15 February 2015
    • Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 07:05

    Results

    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.