Currie Cup

Bulls relieved with first win

2014-08-24 19:07
Frans Ludeke (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believes their nervous 30-25 victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Pretoria on Saturday was the perfect remedy to their woes.

The Light Blues turned in an unconvincing performance as they came up against a tenacious Kings side that nearly tasted a rare victory at Loftus Versfeld.

Ludeke admitted the result could easily have favoured the visitors, but it was a victory they would take nevertheless.

"This is a crucial win for us. We had to work hard. I thought the way the team just stuck together was great and at one stage we could have easily have lost this game," Ludeke said on Saturday evening.

"We've got respect for the EP Kings for the way they play, so this is a great win. We got five points out of it.

"It wasn't pretty at stages, but it was effective and we scored tries, which is vital."

After two devastating defeats in the opening rounds, the four-try bonus-point victory would bring some relief to the under-pressure giants of South African provincial rugby.

Although the Kings lost the match, they would take comfort from having had the hosts in a vice grip at one stage in the encounter.

Kings coach Carlos Spencer commended his troops for showing greater intent than in their preceding two matches, which included a crushing 60-19 loss to the Golden Lions last weekend.

"We can take a lot of positives out of today, especially the first half. The guys showed a lot of enthusiasm and we put them under a lot of pressure at certain times," Spencer said.

"Unfortunately we didn't capitalise and we didn't execute properly in the second half. We can take a lot of positives because there were a lot of guys out there today that put up their hands and can be really proud of themselves."

The Bulls made dismal start to their Currie Cup campaign, conceding 81 points in the matches against the Golden Lions and Western Province away from home.

Ludeke said the victory would go a long way in building positive momentum and get the team's campaign on the right track.

"It can only get better from here. We took a lot of confidence from the win," he said.

"The way we got out of that grip almost, that was the vital thing that can hopefully keep us winning."

While the Bulls were made to work hard for the victory, Ludeke said they needed to savour the moment before addressing their shortcomings on Monday.

"At this stage it is more important to celebrate the win because that is what we need as a team and that is the way you are going to keep winning," he said.

Ludeke's selection of a new-look backline and reshuffle of the front-row paid some dividends.

"Jesse Kriel (fullback) was exceptional from broken field, William Small-Smith (outside centre) defended that channel well and he asked questions with the ball in hand," Ludeke said.

"Rudi Paige (scrumhalf) and Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) made a huge impact. They put pace into our game. The longer the game went on Tony Jantjies saddled in and he is a threat to the line."

Spencer said his charges would take confidence from the performance, but needed to eliminate mistakes if they wanted to triumph over their more esteemed opposition.

The Bulls will have a different challenge next weekend in Pretoria when they face the log-leading Western Province, who beat them 41-17 in Cape Town only a week ago.

The Kings will be looking to avenge their demolishing defeat from a week ago when they host the Lions in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Read more on:    blue bulls  |  ep kings  |  currie cup  |  frans ludeke  |  pretoria  |  rugby

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