Bok snub drove Ludik to France

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:22
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Sharks fullback Louis Ludik says he took up an offer from French club Agen after being told he’s not in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok plans.

Sharks fullback Louis Ludik says he took up an offer from French club Agen after being told he’s not in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok plans.

Ludik left for France after the Sharks’ triumphant Currie Cup campaign, in which the 27-year-old showed his versatility by playing a key role for the Durban side at outside centre.

He joined the Sharks in 2009 from the Lions, where he suffered a serious injury which saw him spend most of his first few weeks in Durban in rehab.

Although he ended his time at the Sharks on a high, Ludik, who was part of the Springbok training squad in 2008, left South African shores with the disappointing realisation that his dream of representing the Springboks would most likely remain just that - a dream.   

“I came to the Sharks with the dream of becoming a Springbok, and unfortunately that didn’t work out,” Ludik told the Sharks’ official website. “The decision to go over to France was made much easier when it was communicated to me that I was not really in the Bok plans.”

By the end of his stint at the Sharks, Ludik had cemented his place in the starting line-up, a feat he said took some doing as he reflected on his time at the union.  

“Playing for the Sharks was by far, absolutely the best experience of my life. Obviously there were a lot of challenges, being the only non-Bok made it tough sometimes to get into the squad - and stay in especially.

“But it was an amazing experience to play with such good players. There were challenges, but I loved being here. There were a lot of expectations riding on our success, from ourselves and the public, which meant we could never relax. But that’s the life of a professional rugby player.”

Ludik made his debut for the Sharks in the 2010 Currie Cup and clinched the first of his two winner’s medal that year. “Winning the Currie Cup that year was one of the highlights of my time with the Sharks,” he admitted.

“Last year too was very special for us as a team and for me personally too, it was awesome. Touring, playing well, winning, it was really nice to be a part of the Super Rugby campaign.

“And then getting into the Currie Cup Final again. It was a good season for me. It was my favourite year of all, one I will never forget.”

Ludik, who won 48 Super Rugby caps and made 37 Currie Cup appearances for the Sharks, said joining Agen, where he will be playing alongside former Sharks lock Ross Skeate, was a difficult decision to make but felt that it was time for change.

“The decision to stay or go was a huge one for us to make. We prayed a lot, it was a long process which was actually a blessing in disguise as we didn’t have like one week to pack up and go,” he said.

“The Sharks wanted me to play out the last six months of my contract and Agen were cool about that, for me to finish the Currie Cup. The extra time meant we were able to pack up, we get to take our dogs with and we got to send our furniture over early.

“It will be a challenge with the colder weather, especially after this wonderful weather in Durban, but it’s something you have to deal with. But I am looking forward to going, they were willing to sign me at the beginning of 2012 for this year, and I visited there a couple of months ago to check it all out and they treated me professionally and with respect. I was very impressed.”

Ludik added that as he prepares to begin a new chapter in his career, he will retain the fond memories of his time at Kings Park.

“I will never forget my time with the Sharks though. This is the best union in the country, by far. The union that takes the best care of its players, they realise that their players are their biggest assets and they make it special for us.

“It was the best time, I was living the dream.”


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