Bulls have no 'scrum nightmares'
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