Currie Cup

Bulls still eyeing playoffs

2014-09-23 19:13
Frans Ludeke (Gallo)

Pretoria - Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke still backs his side's chances of reaching the Currie Cup playoffs despite their sixth-place position on the log with three rounds left in the regular season.

Speaking ahead of their clash against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday, Ludeke said they would do everything possible to reach the semi-finals.

"We take a lot from that game, we are still in the running, our goal is to make the playoff and we are going flat-out for that," Ludeke said at the team announcement in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"We feel we've got a good enough side, and players, so there is no doubt in my mind that we can still make it.

"It is vital game this weekend and we've been in this situation twice this season and we have to come out and perform."

Meanwhile, the Light Blues welcomed captain Deon Stegmann following a week's suspension and was among six changes to the starting XV that suffered a 26-15 defeat to the Sharks in Pretoria over the weekend.

Stegmann, one of the top openside flankers in the country, should bolster the team at the breakdowns where they were particularly vulnerable against the coastal side over the weekend.

He will replace Wiaan Liebenberg, who moves to the bench, while hooker Bongi Mbonambi will be the only other change to the pack as he comes in for the bench-bound Callie Visagie.

Bulls stalwart Akona Ndungane will be back on the right wing, which sees Sampie Mastriet move to the left as Bjorn Basson drops out of the match-day 22.

Meanwhile, fullback Ulrich Beyers is back in the run-on side after he was pulled from the Sharks match due to an undisclosed off-field indiscretion.

In the midfield, JJ Engelbrecht replaces injured William Small-Smith and Piet van Zyl rotates with Rudy Paige, who will play off the bench.

Ludeke fingered their faulty lineout against the Sharks as one of the biggest reasons for their defeat and believes they had fixed one of their traditional weapons ahead of the Cheetahs clash.

"The lineouts were a problem against the Sharks and that cost us dearly, we had enough in that game to win it but we couldn't apply and build pressure from the lineout and that cost us," he said.

"We are confident that we've rectified the issues that put us under pressure against the Sharks.

"We didn't get the result and the reason for that was a combination of losing the ball at the breakdown and the lineouts."

The Bulls mentor said he felt that his side was much better than the result reflected and they had taken some lessons from that defeat.

"We actually thought there were a lot of positives and we controlled that first half 100 percent and in the 38th minute they scored that intercept try then the game changed totally and in the second half we had opportunity then our lineouts collapsed," Ludeke said.

"Pressure will be vital this weekend because it will be knockout rugby and they are in the same situation as us and a team that can handle the pressure."


Free State Cheetahs:


Blue Bulls:

15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morne Mellet, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jesse Kriel

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

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