Ludeke backs Bulls to go top
Pretoria - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is confident his side can uproot the Stormers as conference leaders in their Super Rugby encounter in Cape Town on Saturday.
If the three-time champions win the clash they will replace the Capetonians as the SA conference leaders, but Ludeke said on Wednesday he was well aware of the challenge they faced.
“They are a very good side and we respect what they’ve done the last two, three seasons," Ludeke said.
"They topped our conference last year, but it is a totally different campaign this year.
“We also feel like we’ve prepared well, and a lot of things are working well for us, and that’s what makes our contest such a special event, because we are playing against a good side.”
The Bulls are fresh off a 61-8 demolishing of title holder the Reds in Pretoria at the weekend.
Ludeke, however, would not allow his side to lose perspective of the hard work that lay ahead of them in the competition.
“At the end of the day the result matters the most," he said.
"A team can win ugly, but it is important that you progress in your campaign.
“In each match there are things that we feel we can do better, and one of those is to be more accurate with our penalties.
“This weekend it was better than any other week but there were one or two that we felt were unnecessary, and you don’t want to give the opposition a chance in the match.”
Though his side scored eight tries against the Reds, Ludeke admitted they had let a few chances slip in the first half and he hoped his charges would make up for that against the Stormers.
“Field position will be important," he said.
"I think there were opportunities in the first half, and if you get there you want to finish."
The Bulls minder named an unchanged run-on team to face the Stormers.
One change was made to the bench, however, with replacement hooker Willie Wepener ruled out due to an infected nerve in his face.
Wepener was replaced by 21-year-old Bongi Mbonambi, who could earn his first Super Rugby cap.
“Luckily the injuries didn’t play a role this week. It’s only Willie Wepener with his ear,” Ludeke said.
“It is a nice opportunity for Bongi, one of our youngsters who came through our system from schoolboy level.”Teams:
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio
Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana,
10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt
Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok
Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nick Koster, 20
Louis Schreuder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gerhard van den Heever Bulls:
Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Wynand Olivier,
11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard , 8 Pierre Spies
(captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip
van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Arno
Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 JJ Engelbrecht