Bulls need to improve: Ludeke

    2013-05-15 16:00

    Pretoria - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believes his team is still not firing on all cylinders despite a recent good run of form in the Super Rugby competition.

    The team is sitting pretty at the top of the South African standings, ahead of their match against the Highlanders in Pretoria on Saturday, having won four consecutive matches before last week's bye.

    "We want to continue on the form that we have at the moment," Ludeke said on Wednesday.

    "We are still not where we want to be and we want to ensure that we are accurate with everything we do over the weekend."

    The Pretoria-based side cemented their place among the leading teams in the competition last weekend after receiving four points from their bye.

    They were further assisted by the other chasing South African teams - the Sharks, Stormers and Cheetahs - who lost their matches last week.

    The Bulls could further consolidate their position at the top of the SA conference with a victory over the bottom-of-the-log Highlanders.

    While the Highlanders have won only one match this season, Ludeke believed they were a much better team than their log position might suggest.

    "All their games this season were close. There were one or two small things that made the result slip away from them, so we have respect for them and we know what they can do," he said.

    Bulls captain Pierre Spies will become the Pretoria franchise's eighth player to turn out in 100 Super Rugby matches this weekend.

    He joins a select group of centurions at the Bulls which include Bakkies Botha, Wynand Olivier, Fourie du Preez, Pedrie Wannenburg, Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield and Morne Steyn.

    "When you start out your career it is a long way ahead of you but it comes up much quicker than you expect," Spies said.

    "It is just great to still be involved and play the game."

    Steyn will also reach a milestone when he passes the mark for the most appearances for the Bulls currently shared between himself, Rossouw and Matfield, when he plays his 117th Super Rugby match.

    Ludeke, meanwhile, made five changes for Saturday's encounter, which sees the return of playmaker scrumhalf Francois Hougaard to the starting line-up for the first time since injuring his ankle in March.

    He will replace the in-form Jano Vermaak, who will supply cover from the bench.

    Rising star Jan Serfontein has also recovered from an injury and will slot in at inside centre next to JJ Engelbrecht in the midfield.

    Serfontein replaces Wynand Olivier, while Lionel Mapoe shifts to the wing in the place of Bjorn Basson.

    In the two changes among the forwards, Frik Kirsten and Morne Mellett exchange places with Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling.


    Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morne Mellett

    Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Bjorn Basson



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