Ludeke: Mistakes can be fixed
Pretoria – Fortunately for the Bulls all the mistakes that nearly cost them victory against the Lions can be fixed with hard work on the training field.
That is the view of Bulls coach Frans Ludeke after his side produced a clinical first 40 minutes and then nearly lost the game in the second half.
The Bulls could not score any points in the second half of their 24-20 win, were penalised heavily at the breakdowns and even got a yellow card for poor discipline.
They also had to defend their line desperately against a determined Lions outfit. The home side managed to cross the line twice.
“It’s about keeping the ball. We used the ball well in the first half and could even have scored another two or three tries. But we conceded too much possession in the second half. We will have to look after our possession better,” said Ludeke.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield took some responsibility in that regard.
“Yes, I was someone who gave the ball away unnecessarily with that kick of mine in the second half. It was not a good option,” admitted Matfield.
He said the team’s defence was a highlight.
“It saps the energy from you when you have to defend all the time and the Lions really tested us in the second half. You have to praise them for the manner in which they kept the ball and we had to make a lot of tackles. I am very proud of the manner in which the guys stuck to the task.”
Bulls scrumhalf Fourie du Preez was also satisfied.
“Our goal was to pull this one off and it happened. My shoulder also held out well and it’s always nice to be victorious in a milestone like a 100th game. But we can play a lot better than that and that will be the focus this week,” said Du Preez.
He celebrated his 100th game with a good performance and stopped many of the Lions’ attacks on defence.
“We were under pressure at times and I’m satisfied that I could stop their momentum at times,” said Du Preez.
Ludeke will hear on Monday what the damage is to Gary Botha’s shoulder, but it does not look good for the hooker. He left the field in great pain after about half an hour and was replaced by Chiliboy Ralepelle.
Bulls flank Derick Kuün will probably be used as substitute hooker while Botha recovers, with Ralepelle set to wear the No 2 jersey for the next few weeks.
Kuün played hooker for the Bulls in 2007 and 2008 before moving back to the flank.
The Bulls are still without Francois Hougaard, but Jaco Pretorius should be declared fit to be able to play against the Cheetahs on Friday.
Danie Rossouw, who had to be replaced by Flip van der Merwe due to a spider bite shortly before kick-off, will also be ready.