Bulls gearing for a 'big freeze'

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:01
Large frans ludeke media2

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke spoke to Jan de Koning about his team's trip to Newlands on Saturday for the big north-south derby.

It is not so much the cold front that is busy moving in over Cape Town, although that will play a role, but the home team that could make life unpleasant for the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

While the Sharks are already assured of winning the South African conference - guaranteeing them a top-three finish - the Bulls are clinging to a mathematical chance of reaching the Super Rugby play-offs.

However, they must win their two remaining games - against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday and the Rebels in Pretoria next Friday - to keep that dream alive. Two four-try bonus points would do their cause no harm.

However, that remains a tall order, given what awaits them in Cape Town.

The mid-winter cold front closing in on the Mother City and the Stormers' famed defence will both make life unpleasant for the visitors.

Capetonians are already bracing themselves for some unpleasant weather at the weekend, with the worst of the cold front set to move in on Saturday morning. It is expected to be accompanied by heavy rainfall, snow falls over the high lying mountains and low temperatures.

However, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is more concerned about the quality of the opposition than the unpleasant conditions they could experience.

"In the last six years there has only been one four-try bonus-point in matches between these teams," the Bulls mentor told rugby365.

The last four-try bonus point in these north-south derbies was scored when the Stormers smashed the Bulls 38-10 at Newlands in 2010. The previous four-try bonus point before that was way back in 2007, when the Stormers overpowered a severely depleted Bulls team 49-12 in 2007 - when the visitors from Pretoria rested all their frontline players in the final league match ahead of the play-offs.

Ludeke felt the lack of tries show the emphasis placed on and commitment shown on defence by both teams.

"The gainline will again be a crucial battlefield and it will most likely be a very tactical game," the Bulls coach said.

In games of this nature discipline is key, as penalties are what gives either team momentum.

He felt that, as always, the set piece will be a key aspect in the game.

"These two teams always seem to bring out the best in each other and there is a long history of these derbies, between the two teams.

"Both teams also have a lot to play for, as they want to finish their season on a high."

Because of the value the Bulls are placing on getting a positive result, Ludeke did not rest any of his frontline players.

While selection was influenced by a number of factors, including the injury of Flip van der Merwe, the decision to name stand-in Springbok captain Victor Matfield is an indication how determined the Bulls are to come away from Newlands with a win.

"It is an important game for us and we want to finish on a positive note in our last two games," he said of the encounters with the Stormers and Rebels.

Ludeke told rugby365 that the decision to name Handré Pollard at flyhalf, ahead of regular starter Jacques-Louis Potgieter, was something they discussed even before the June break.

"A lot of things, that had a very positive affect in Handre Pollard's life, happened since that discussion.

"We are very proud of him and happy for him."

The coach feels the 20-year-old will have enough support in the team to get him through his first big north-south derby.

"Hougies [Francois Hougaard] and Jan [Serfontein] played alongside him for the Springboks [against Scotland] last Saturday, so that continuity will make a difference.

"Pollard and inside centre Jan Serfontein have played together on a number of occasions since their junior [South African Under-20] days."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10