Potgieter must 'embrace' the moment

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:03
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Bulls coach Frans Ludeke feels his team has a "better balance" heading into their second meeting with the Sharks this season.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke feels his team has a "better balance" heading into their second meeting with the Sharks this season.

The Bulls were well below their expected standards when they went down to Durban in Week One and the result was a drubbing at the hands of the Sharks.

However, a number of personnel changes - the most recent the inclusion of Japan-based Springbok Dewald Potgieter at No.8 this week - has given the Bulls a very different look for the return fixture at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The most significant backline change will see Jacques-Louis Potgieter start at flyhalf, after Louis Fouché was at No.10 in Durban. The other is Sampie Mastriet on the right wing for Akona Ndungane, who is on compassionate leave after the death of his father.

Up front there are also some key changes - Potgieter at No.8, after Pierre Spies played in Durban before injury ruled him out for the rest of the season, and Victor Matfield at No.5 lock, with Flip van der Merwe moving to his preferred position at the front of the line-out.

Ludeke, speaking to this website ahead of Saturday's Loftus showdown, said the addition of Potgieter brings a different dynamic to the team.

"When Arno [Botha] and Pierre [Spies] were injured, we immediately contacted him," he said, when asked about the selection of Potgieter.

The Bok loose forward did not hesitate, but a few administrative hiccups delayed his return - with injury insurance at the heart of the issues.

"He brings a lot to the team, an experienced player that has a huge workrate- both on attack and defence," the coach said, adding that experience will be vital in a game like this.

"It is a local derby between two very good teams that are in good form.

"You need players that can embrace the moment. You need players like that, who are up for the occasion."

Ludeke admitted that seasoned players like Potgieter and Matfield will have important roles to play if the Bulls are to reverse their last result against the Sharks - which was a 16-31 loss.

"We feel that our combinations, since that first game [in Durban] have improved dramatically.

"The team is more settled and everybody has a better idea of what we want to do.

"We have achieved some good results in the last two matches and want to build on that."

The Bulls know that Saturday will be a different and bigger challenge and they will have to be at their best.

"We had a good break [last week's bye] and made some minor adjustment [to the game plan]," he said, adding that they hope the long-term weather prediction of a dry day is realised.

"We will have to adjust to whatever happens on the day," Ludeke said.

"Our balance is much better when it comes to the decision-makers in the team, among the forwards and backs and those [changes made] are players who we feel can adjust and make good calls that will benefit the team."

By Jan de Koning

EP Kings vs Western Province
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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 August 2016
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
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 29 | 9
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
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