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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Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19