Search on for Ludeke's replacement

    2015-06-13 22:10

    Ockert de Villiers - Sport24

    Johannesburg - Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan suggested it would be a difficult to find a replacement for Frans Ludeke after the surprise announcement on Saturday evening that he would step down as Super Rugby and Currie Cup coach with immediate effect.

    Ludeke’s eight-year tenure as the Bulls mentor came to a disappointing end with his side suffering a 42-29 defeat at the hands of the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld in their final Super Rugby match of the season.

    The 47-year-old coached the Bulls to two consecutive Super Rugby titles in 2009 and 2010 while he also won the 2009 Currie Cup title with the team.

    “If you see how much some of our competitors are struggling to find a coach it is not a one-way 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. 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 tonight.”

    Van Graan said discussions will Ludeke about his future are ongoing as well as the process to appoint a new head coach for Super Rugby 2016 and an announcement would be made as soon as this has been finalised.

    “About his future I would like to say it is an ongoing process and we will not make an announcement tonight,” he said.

    “There are a number of coaching changes that will happen in the next few days. We’ve worked on that over the past week.”

    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.

    “We would like to thank Frans for the efforts over the past eight years, we appointed him on December 4, 2007 and the first five matches we lost and we took 50 points against the Hurricanes before the team turned around the season and the rest is history,” Van Graan said.

    “We’ve got quite a lot of respect for his integrity, his commitment, dedication that he has put into the Bulls and Blue Bulls.”

    Before Saturday’s announcement of his resignation it was believed Ludeke would be promoted to Director of Rugby.

    While there was no indication for Ludeke’s decision to step down with a year still left on his contract, Van Graan said pressures from outside had played a role in what transpired.

    “I must credit Frans for the fact that he conveyed the news to the team himself and the manner in which he did that speaks of what we all know about him,” Van Graan said.

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