Ludeke: We are not on a slide
Ockert de Villiers - Sport24
Johannesburg - Suffering their ninth consecutive defeat on tour after a 34-20 loss to the Chiefs in Rotorua on Friday, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke would not concede that his side was on a slide.
AS IT HAPPENED: CHIEFS 34-20 BULLS
“We missed one or two opportunities and we couldn’t put pressure into points, so I don’t think we are in a downward curve,” Ludeke said.
“I thought we played well tonight and the Chiefs are a quality side, and it is never easy on tour.”
The Bulls’ hopes of reaching this year’s playoffs were fast diminishing as they limped to their second defeat of the tour with a tough Brumbies encounter awaiting them next week.
“We have crucial games left on the tour and we’ve taken a lot from this game tonight, it is obviously not the result that we wanted but we need to stay positive and need to bounce back next week,” Ludeke said.
“It is still our goal to get two wins on tour, the New Zealand leg in terms of that wasn’t successful, so it makes it so much more crucial against the Brumbies next weekend."
The Pretoria side made a superb start to the encounter as they raced to a 15-3 lead in the first quarter of the game before the balance swung in the Chiefs’ favour.
The Bulls were wasteful with the ball in hand and, in the second half in particular, their ball retention was poor.
“I thought there were times that we strung great phases together, we built pressure and we squeezed penalties,” said Ludeke.
“At crucial times we couldn’t keep onto the ball and it was a huge contest at the breakdown.
“Both sides climbed into that area and both made a lot of errors which was down to the pressure applied on defence.”
What should be more disconcerting to Ludeke is the fact that, as was the case in the defeat to the Blues last weekend, the Bulls let scoring opportunities go to waste.
“It boils down to one or two opportunities you have in the right areas to convert that pressure into points and we work really hard and we were good in creating those opportunities,” he said.
“The one example was a throw that was too long, the other was when the referee blew us up for obstruction which I thought he got wrong.”
The Bulls attack was unimaginative and lacked the killer blow they had shown before they left for their Australasian tour.
“We had to fight to get back, and the way we kept on coming and kept creating opportunities - it was not a lack of effort at all.”
The Bulls will be sweating over the availability of fullback Jesse Kriel and prop Trevor Nyakane, who suffered knee and hip flexor injuries respectively.