Game is played between four lines

Wed, 24 Jul 2013 21:58
Large frik kirsten bulls tackle b Large frans ludeke   dewald potgi Large frans ludeke bulls look

Loftus Versfeld may be billed as a near impenetrable fortress for the Bulls, but coach Frans Ludeke is not buying into any of the sideshows.

Loftus Versfeld may be billed as a near impenetrable fortress for the Bulls, who also have more play-off experience, but coach Frans Ludeke is not buying into any of the sideshows.

He feels it is what happens on the pitch, not in the record books, that will determine the winner when they host the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld in a Super Rugby semifinal on Saturday.

"In situations like this you don't often have real advantages ahead of the game," Ludeke told this website in an interview, when asked about the fact that the Bulls have never lost a play-off match at home.

They have beaten the Crusaders three times in the semifinals (even though one of those were in Soweto in 2010), as well as the Chiefs and Stormers in successive Final appearances (the 2010 win also in Soweto).

The Brumbies have also not beaten the Bulls at Loftus since 2006. And their only wins since 2006 were both fortuitous squeakers in Canberra - 23-20 in March this year, courtesy of a dubious last-minute penalty, and a one-point (31-30) win in 2009.

The Bulls also have far more players, 14 in total, with Super Rugby play-off experience - Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling, Frik Kirsten and Jano Vermaak.

That is far superior to the Brumbies' two - George Smith and Clyde Rathbone.

However, Ludeke is adamant this does not guarantee his team anything on Saturday.

"Both teams are professional enough and both teams' management [staff] have enough international experience within to know how to handle the players and what to say to them," the Bulls mentor said.

"I believe that on the day, between those four lines once the whistle has blown, both teams will be tested - despite all the plans you devised.

"That is when players need to be able to adjust - they need to work hard, even when things don't work for them all the time."

Ludeke said there will be mistakes made by both sides.

"It is about how the team reacts to the momentum you lose and the momentum you gain in the game, how you can round off the opportunities," he told this website.

"In any play-off game you will get your opportunities and then you have to be good enough to round it off.

"The whole year's planning and preparation, the way you played, all that must come together on the day, on the pitch."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28