Ludeke: Keep the momentum
Pretoria – ‘Keep the momentum and we will stay in the race.’
That is what Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is drilling into the heads of his team this week as they prepare for Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Waratahs at Loftus Versfeld.
Since returning from their overseas tour, on which they lost three games, the Bulls have showed that they are still contenders with victories over the Chiefs, Rebels, Sharks and Cheetahs.
Ludeke said that they had to up their game even further now.
“We’re getting good rhythm now and things are starting to work for us. It’s something we have to keep, especially as we are playing against a side above us on the log. The sums are simple – the winner moves away from the loser and so late in the tournament neither of the teams can afford a defeat,” said Ludeke.
The coach believes the challenge to beat the Waratahs is precisely what his team needs.
“We are very blessed because we don’t have many injuries, while other teams are struggling in that area. But it’s not necessarily a motivation to know that you are at full strength and your opponent is not.
“It still won’t guarantee the win. For that you still have to pitch as a team, trust your team-mates and structure, and execute your game plan accurately. It’s something we have managed of late, irrespective of the opponent’s injury list.”
Bulls captain Victor Matfield believes they have an advantage because virtually all their top players are available.
“It’s very much about the availability of your top players and it contributes to a positive feeling in any side if they are fit and ready,” said Matfield.
The Waratahs will be delighted that Berrick Barnes is available.
Waratahs coach Chris Hickey picked Barnes at inside centre, with Daniel Halangahu set to play flyhalf again.
Hickey said that Barnes is ready for action again after missing the Sharks game with headaches.
“He’s straining at the leash to play and can’t wait to get in among the Bulls. He’s also delighted to be able to be involved in an important game.”
Hickey has bolstered his forward pack and picked lock Dean Mumm as a flank.
“You have to pick a tall pack against the Bulls because they are a very good lineout side and their play is based on that.
“If you don’t manage to dominate physically against the Bulls, you will see very little of the ball. We’d like to feed our backline with good ball.”
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane/Gerhard van den
Heever, 13 Jaco Pretoruis, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne
Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon
Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger,
2 Gary Botha, 1 Dean Greyling.
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy
Ralepelle, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Dewald
Potgieter, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Gerhard van den
15 Kurtley Beale,
14 Lachie Turner, 13 Tom Carter, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Soseni Anesi, 10
Daniel Halangahu, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dean
Mumm (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Tatafu
Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Substitutes: 16 Paddy Ryan, 17 John
Ulugia, 18 Pat O'Connor, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Hugh Perrett, 21 Brendan
McKibbin, 22 Atieli Pakalani