Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says his side need to improve exponentially if they are to win a “momentum generating” warm-up match against the Cheetahs on Friday.
The Bulls slumped to a 44-21 defeat to the Lions on Saturday, although admittedly having fielded a relatively inexperienced side. The Lions dominated most facets of play, particularly the collisions and breakdown, the latter an area the Cheetahs are highly effective in.
While he was reluctant to discuss the details of his squad for the match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Ludeke confirmed that they would field a side consisting of the majority of their Springboks. This should aid their desire to improve in the areas identified as a concern.
“We were not competitive in the collisions or at the breakdown and that needs to improve,” Ludeke told keo.co.za. “That forced us to scramble in defence often which wasn’t ideal. It was a real wake up call for us and we’ll have to make big progress in those areas or risk the Cheetahs exposing us again.”
Ludeke added that while he was disappointed in the result he was pleased that some fringe players had a decent hit out and that he had a better idea about the capabilities of certain if those players against quality opposition.
There is however concern about the fitness of prop Rayno Gerber, who’ll is set to be sidelined for two to weeks with a groin injury. Jaco Engels and Pedrie Wannenberg will be out for between seven and 10 days with what Ludeke described as “soft tissue injuries”.
“I’m not going to pretend that the result is of no importance for us,” Ludeke said when asked about his goals for the match.
“Winning is important to any coach and I’m no different. We’re looking for the overall result and that will come from getting results in facets of play like the collisions and breakdown. In warm-up matches getting your execution spot on is key. We’ll be looking to achieve those things and generate some momentum ahead of the opener against the Reds.”
By Ryan Vrede