Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says his Super 14 champions are out of form.
On Saturday, the Bulls conceded 50 points to the Hurricanes – the second half-century hiding they’ve taken at Loftus this season. The defending chumps are now languishing in 13th place with just 10 points from nine matches.
While the Bulls lost key players like Victor Matfield and Gary Botha in the off-season, 12 of the XV that started against the Canes played in last year’s Super 14 final. The Pretoria franchise is definitely not in a rebuilding phase as some would have you believe.
Ludeke, who has been told not to speak to keo.co.za because of recent “negative” reports, told the Pretoria News that he is putting the best players on the park.
“I believe we have our best possible team on the field at the moment,” he said. “It is just that the guys are not playing to their potential. I still believe in my players. It is just that they are not on form and we will have to address that.”
However, it’s perhaps time for Ludeke to start looking at his own ability as a coach, instead of blaming his players. Yes, he’s a nice guy, but does the team go out and play for him as they did for Heyneke Meyer last year? Does he have the ability to get the best out of players who have proven they have what it takes to win the Super 14? The fact that the Bulls missed 39 tackles against the Canes (including 17 in the first 16 minutes) suggests the answer to both questions is a resounding no.
It’s also worth noting that after Saturday’s gutless performance, Ludeke’s coaching record at Super Rugby level reads: played 34, won: 5, lost: 29. His win record of 14% suggests it’s not just the players who aren’t up to scratch.