Ludeke takes it on the chin

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:07
Large frans ludeke   jono ross

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke spoke to Jan de Koning about the criticism levelled at him over his selection policies.

As the well-worn idiom goes: 'The tallest trees catch the most wind.' In the case of Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, that has come in the form of harsh criticism.

While there was some critique over his 'management' of veteran Victor Matfield and numerous barbs over his backline choices, it was the selection of his loose forwards that attracted the most fiendish and frightful comments.

The Bulls were particularly vulnerable at the breakdowns, where the absence of a specialist openside flank - in the wake of injuries to Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter - cost them dearly.

Ludeke persisted with Jono Ross, who by his own admission is more suitable on the blindside or at No.8.

The Bulls mentor took it all in his stride, but admitted that in hindsight some selection decisions could have been different and that he may have been able to put together better combinations.

"There were a lot of opinions about openside flank," he said of the route he took after injuries ruled out key players like Stegmann, Potgieter and Arno Botha.

"I took that [criticism fire at him] on board," Ludeke  told rugby365 in an interview in the build-up to the final match of the season, against the Rebels at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

"Jono Ross has grown a lot," he said, adding: "Wiaan Liebenberg, who is a specialist in that [openside] position, and Roelof Smit both spent time on the sidelines with injury. They are now fully fit again."

While Ludeke was willing to take the criticism on board, he also felt that at times there were "small things and some basic errors" that cost them.

"In some games, with the selections we made, we got good results."

However, by his own admission, injuries often forced his hand and while, as a coach, he has to take responsibility, it was not always within in control.

"You can sometimes make better decisions, because you have to win - that is the bottom line," Ludeke said.

"Yes, we did not always perform to our true potential this year, because it was within our grasp to reach the play-offs.

"But, then again, at times we only selected the best from what was at our disposal and injuries did make it more challenging for us."

Ludeke hopes that one of the players who has been on the fringes and at times unavailable through injury, Roelof Smit, will solve part of his breakdown problem.

It is a solution he can, hopefully, take into the Currie Cup season that gets underway next month.

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
UWC v WSU 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v NMMU-Madibaz 16h30 Bloemfontein
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
Maties v UJ 17h00 Stellenbosch
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
Munster v Toulouse 17h45 Limerick
Sun, 02 April 2017
Waratahs v Crusaders 06h05 Allianz Park
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Allianz Park
Clermont Auvergne v Toulon 15h15 Clermont-Ferrand
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Jaguares 5 4 0 1 18
Sharks 5 4 0 1 17
Kings 5 1 0 4 5