Ludeke's Bulls career ends with a whimper
Pretoria - After eight years at the helm of the Bulls and two Super Rugby titles while in charge, coach Frans Ludeke’s career with the
Pretoria side ended with a whimper following a 42-29 defeat to the Cheetahs at
Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
Ludeke faced the media in his
final post-match press conference, but remained silent about his decision to
step down as Super Rugby and Currie Cup coach.
“It was definitely not the way we
wanted to end the season and it is not what they players had in mind but that
is how it played out,” Ludeke said.
“We just made too many mistakes
with the first-half penalties giving them a free ride, and also at the
breakdown we couldn’t look after the ball.”
Bulls chief executive Barend van
Graan announced after match that Ludeke had informed the Board of Directors on
Friday that he would resign with immediate effect.
“If you see how much some of our
competitors are struggling to find a new coach it is not an easy search to
identify the right guy and appoint him,” Van Graan said.
“We will take our time and try
and resolve that as soon as possible. We did not inform the players before the
match (of Ludeke's departure) as we wanted them to have a clear mind going into the match.
"After the match Frans
informed the players and the coaching staff in the changing room and he requested
not to be here (at the press conference post-match) tonight.”
Van Graan said discussions will
Ludeke about his future are ongoing, as is the process to appoint a new head
coach for Super Rugby 2016 and an announcement would be made as soon as this
had been finalised.
Van Graan also announced on
Saturday that Blue Bulls Under-21 and Vodacom Cup coach Nollis Marais will take
charge in this year’s Currie Cup.
Ludeke was adamant that the proud
South African franchise would rise again after their campaign derailed on their
tour of Australasia.
Before the tour the Bulls were in
a commanding second place on the overall log, but five consecutive defeats later
they ended the season in ninth position and third in the South African
“There are no regrets from my
side, we gave it our best shot, maybe the best shot wasn’t good enough but we
will take that,” Ludeke said.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies
admitted the cloud of uncertainty over Ludeke’s future and the players’
contracts did play a role in the team’s lacklustre performance against the
“We would be lying if we say it
didn’t (play a role), it was a different week with what was happening with
some of the players moving on and what is happening with management,” Spies
“Everyone was aware of it. It was
obviously difficult to keep the guys positive and focused, but we did everything
On Friday the Bulls announced
that eight stalwarts would part ways with the franchise at the end of the Super
Spies along with Jacques du
Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Victor Matfield, Akona
Ndungane, Jurgen Visser and Francois Hougaard were confirmed as players to
be leaving the Bulls.
Du Plessis and Spies will join
French club Montpellier, Van der Merwe moves to Clermont-Auvergne while
Potgieter is leaving for Lyon.
Matfield will retire after the
Rugby World Cup with Ndungane hanging up his boots after his contract was only
extended for this year's Super Rugby competition.
Hougaard leaves for Japan later this year, but could return to
Loftus Versfeld for next year’s Super Rugby competition.