Ludeke bullish about depth

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 13:01
Large handre pollard sa u20 630 Large jan serfontein sa u20 630 Large mapoe offload630 Large frans ludeke presser

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke feels the Bulls have adequate depth to avoid fading out of contention in this year’s Super Rugby tournament.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke feels the Bulls have adequate depth to avoid fading out of contention in this year’s Super Rugby tournament.

Despite losing several key players, the Pretoria side made it to the qualifiers last year.

However, a dip in form, which saw the three-time champions win just two of their last six games, meant they had to travel to Christchurch for their qualifier where they were promptly eliminated by the Crusaders.

A lack of depth forced Ludeke to overplay his star players and it became apparent at the business end of the competition that the demands of a lengthy campaign had taken its toll on the Bulls.   

With the younger players now having a season of Super Rugby under their belt and with the addition of the likes of Handré Pollard, Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe and Callie Visagie, Ludeke believes they have the depth to make a run at the title this season.         

“Depth is all-important,” Ludeke told this website.

“The players understand our system and we’re happy with the depth we have at this stage. The squad have a greater understanding of our system and what we want to achieve.

“You can pick up two or three injuries in a week so it’s vital that you have quality depth to be able to bring in another player who can make the necessary contribution.

“Thus, the squad system is key. It’s one of the things that put us under pressure last year but we’re in a better position now. With depth being so crucial to a successful campaign, the young up-and-coming players are just as important as the senior players.”

Ludeke said Saturday’s pre-season friendly against the Cheetahs in Polokwane is another opportunity to assess the players and the gameplan ahead of the Super Rugby opener against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on February 22.

“It’s a good opportunity for this big squad of 36 to get game time, to make sure everyone gets time on the field before the start of Super Rugby,” Ludeke said.

“For me it’s a chance to test our system and combinations and to see what works and what doesn’t. There’s still some time left after Saturday’s game to finetune our game.  

“The result is secondary, it’s about the process, seeing where we are and working on a couple of things we identified in the off-season.”

Ludeke added that playing the Cheetahs will be a good challenge for his charges after the Bloemfontein side’s home win over the Stormers last weekend.     

“It’s a great opportunity to play against a good team. They’re coming off a good win over the Stormers and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Ludeke said.  

“We know it’s going to be a good test for us, especially up front. They have a good pack of forwards and they like to take the ball through the phases so it’s going to test our defence.”

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19