Bulls have no 'scrum nightmares'

Thu, 13 Feb 2014 07:34
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The Bulls' scrum has been branded a potential 'weakness' in the team's armoury, but coach Frans Ludeke is not having any nightmares.

The Bulls' scrum has been branded a potential 'weakness' in the team's armoury ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season, but coach Frans Ludeke is not having any nightmares.

The first test will come when the men from Pretoria travel to Durban on Saturday to take on the Sharks' highly-rated all-Springbok front row.

Bulls props Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling, both also Boks, were among the most penalised front row forwards at scrum time in the 2013 Super Rugby competition - a list topped by Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett and Stormers counterpart Steven Kitshoff.

However, the Bulls props have an unwanted tag and going up against the Sharks' seasoned trio - Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, along with Tendai Mtawarira - is not going to get them any additional 'street credit' either.

There is no doubting the Sharks front row's pedigree - Bismarck du Plessis (57 Test caps), Jannie du Plessis (51 Tests) and Mtawarira (53 Tests) are far more experienced when compared to the seven international appearances by Greyling (three Tests) and Kruger (four Tests).

However, Ludeke feels the work done in the off season will ensure his team is prepared for the enormity of the challenge.

"They deserve the plaudits they get," Ludeke told this website, when asked about his team's perceived weakness in the front row.

"That's a front row that proved time and again, both in Super Rugby and at Test level, what they are capable of.

"However, it is important for us to focus on our own strengths."

The Bulls mentor admitted scrums are a "very important" facet of the game.

"We pride ourselves on having great aspects of our game.

"The scrum is an area where we were under pressure in a few games last year, [but] we have worked very hard on that in the off-season."

Ludeke believes the Bulls have grown and made significant progress in that area in the past two to three months.

"We worked on being technically more accurate and scum as a unit," he told this website, adding: "We are confident that we'll be able to set a solid platform [in the scrums] at the weekend.

"It has to be solid for 80 minutes, not just one or two scrums."

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
Fri, 02 September 2016
Boland v Pumas 13h00 Wellington
Blue Bulls v Golden Lions 17h00 Pretoria
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Pumas v Griquas 35 | 41
Golden Lions v Boland 60 | 12
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9