Bulls could be pathway to Boks

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:08
Large victor matfield bulls point

The Bulls are determined to avoid another mass exodus from the kraal, as they look to bring through the herd of youngsters signed in the last few years.

The Bulls are determined to avoid another mass exodus from the kraal, as they look to bring through the herd of youngsters signed in the last few years.

Following a bitterly disappointing season, with a ninth-placed finish, the three-time champions are looking to arrest the slide.

Having won the title in 2007, 2009 and 2010, the Bulls have had some major slumps in the interim years - 10th in 2008 (which coincidentally coincided with the departure of several senior players), seventh in 2011 and ninth this year, following the departure of more than 20 senior players in the past two years.

Having been subjected to back-to-back player drains over the past two seasons, the Bulls are of the opinion that the worst is behind them now.

Coach Frans Ludeke, speaking in the wake of a season-ending (40-7) drubbing of the bottom-placed Rebels last Friday, indicated that they have plans in place to avoid further player departures.

World Cup-winning Springbok Victor Matfield, speaking in his capacity as a team leader and coach, said they are working hard to ensure the greater objectives at Loftus Versfeld are understood by the next generation.

"The first thing for me is selling the dream of what we are trying to do here at the Bulls and that is why we sign guys like Jan Serfontein and Handre Pollard for the next two-three years," Matfield said.

"And then the biggest thing for the most talented players is that they want to play for the Springboks, so we must show them that their best chance of realising that dream is if they play for the Bulls.

"It is all about creating that environment where they want to be and where they can eventually play for the Springboks."

Reflecting on the season, Ludeke highlighted that, on average, they fielded nine players who were competing at Super Rugby level for the first time.

The coach also pointed out that they lost several key players to injury and that their inefficiencies at the breakdown were further exposed when specialist fetchers Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter were rule out of action.

While impressive at home, the Bulls failed to replicate that form on the road and will be disappointed with themselves for suffering record losses to teams they used to walk over in years gone by.

Their losses to the Cheetahs and Lions stung the most as those sides have never been able to taste success against them.

Ludeke noted that, from a managerial perspective, it would take new initiatives to ensure players do not jump ship at the first sign of a bigger pay cheque.

"We will also look at doing dual deals where the players can return after six months – with the Japan deals that is a possibility – but at the end of the day it is going to be tough to have a big squad with experienced players and it will make it tough to keep players," Ludeke said.

"Hopefully the economy will also change because the lure of the huge money they get overseas is hard to counter. We do have plans to make sure that we can secure some players."

Source: SANZAR media unit

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Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
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 17h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
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
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
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Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
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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
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Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9