Bulls coach scoffs at critics


Super Rugby

The Bulls will not deviate from their tried and tested style of play despite growing criticism about their kicking game, following their 31-16 defeat to the Sharks in Durban at the weekend, coach Frans Ludeke said on Tuesday.

“I know what people are referring to, there are times that it is on when we have the momentum then we kick that good possession away maybe trying to tactically put it into a gap or force a lineout,” Ludeke said at the team announcement for Friday’s clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

“It is about decision making, we will get better in every game, we are working on it but to get out of your area is a principle of the game.”

The Bulls may be known for employing a kick-and-chase strategy, however, statistics from Saturday’s match suggest the coastal side did most of the tactical kicking.

Stats from the Sanzarrugby.com show that the Sharks kicked 32 times in play, while the Bulls put ball to boot two times less in the clash.

Ludeke said it was only a matter of being more accurate in their execution of the game plan, while they also had some lapses on defence.

The Sharks found easy passage to the tryline in the first half scoring three five-pointers before adding the fourth in the dying moments of the match.

“Obviously we would like to execute better…we know we can play a lot better than the way we played over the weekend,” Ludeke said.

“We had mixed results in that kicking game, we forced some good turnovers there, [but] it is just the conditions. It is tough to carry the ball. They didn’t carry the ball either.

“We gave them some soft opportunities. They had four opportunities in the first half, four times they had the ball in that half and two of them were due to our mistakes.”

Ludeke made one change ahead of his side’s Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Lock Grant Hattingh will receive a starting berth at the expense of Paul Willemse, who drops out of the match-day 23 altogether, while Springbok veteran Victor Matfield will supply cover off the bench.

“We felt these were our best combinations and with the exception of Grant Hattingh coming in it is the same 23 players,” Ludeke said.

“It is more horses for course, we feel we need a little more mobility – it is different conditions playing in the Highveld.”

The Cheetahs and the Bulls are losing sides from the first round of the Super Rugby season and both teams would be looking to get their campaigns back on track.

The Bloemfontein-based side were left disappointed in their shock 21-20 defeat to the Lions on their home ground thanks to a last-minute drop goal by flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff.

Bulls captain Pierre Spies said while the team was unhappy with their performance against the Sharks they could make up for it on Friday.

“You’ve got to put the game behind you as quickly as possible, and the vibe within the team is very good and positive,” Spies said.

“Everyone was disappointed with the result and the execution of what we wanted to achieve. We see it as a new opportunity against the Cheetahs on Friday.”


15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagné, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Caylib Oosthuisen

Substitutes:16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Rynard Landman, 20 Jean Cook, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Rayno Benjamin


15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht , 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Marcel van der Merwe ,19 Victor Matfield,20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers

Source: Rugby365

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Me thinks that Frans is out of his depth here. playing on a old game plan hoping they players can safe his inability to coach in todays game.

    They must now just adopt to the game plan and execute it..

  2. It’s not about the age or predictability of the game plan but about its execution.

    The Bulls are too young and inexperienced to execute it precisely at the moment.

  3. I wonder if people (those close the coast I mean) will someday realise that more often than not, the team that kicks the most, win the game.

    Take this game for instance, the Sharks kicked more than the Bulls, difference being that they kicked better.

  4. Precisely Aldo…

    I am sick and tired of people saying that predictability is a bad thing…

    If the execution is good the predictability has nothing to do with it.

    The Bulls’ execution was not on par. Their kicking was poor and in all honesty that dray horse Ndungane is ready to be set out to pasture because heaven knows he’s just making up numbers nowadays…

  5. @Aldo: With the kicking game you should evolve, that is something I do not believe the coach can do. Between him and Pine Pienaar they are almost as kak as Coetzee.

    If I was the Bulls I would have gotten a guy like Jimmy in long time ago.

    Just my feeling about this all

  6. It isn’t about the fact that they kick, it is about the fact that they kicked poorly, Hougaard is not a kicking scrumhalf, he is trying, but he is failing.

    It is also about deciding when to kick and also to vary the kicking game.

    Similarly to New Zealand who is now playing three back with aerial skills, they know how to negate the kicking game, and are doing the kicking game smarter than anyone else.

    New Zealand eveolved the kicking game into more than just a kick and chase, something the Bulls have not done.

    You can keep on about not taking the chances you create, but if you continue attacking the same channel you are going to struggle to score.

    Everything is about balance, the zbulls simply don’t have that.

  7. Shit but you blokes can over analyse things.

    The Sharks had more talent on the field than the Bulls by a country mile. No game-plan, evolved or not, was going to over come that on the day. The only way, they could have won that game was through luck and referee help and an undercooked Sharks team.

    They got none of the above. So they lost.

  8. Biltongbek and Jacques, please tell me when these pisspoor years where both the Bulls and Stormers have been shown up and poor? Was it 2011 – 2013 when these two teams won the SA conference between the 2 every year in super 15? Or was it maybe 2010 when these 2 teams dominated superrugby and played in the final? Or maybe 2009 when the Bulls also won the tournament? With this same gameplan, the Bulls have been consistantly better than any other south african team in superrugby. Last year even winning the conference with less talent than any other team in SA?

    So please again tell me where the Bulls have been poor for years and unable to evolve? Ditto for the Stormers, who have actually over the last few years ‘evolved’ their game plan more than any other team in SA. Oh and another thing, is evolve the new buzz word for 2014? Much like intent etc over the last few years?

  9. @Aldo: I am sorry maybe we see different games, and for sure I am not comparing the teams against each other but rather against the NZ teams.

    Forget about last year and the years gone by that is gone my friend, half the blerrie players you had in those years are gone and your coach as well as Coetzee just do not have the ability to take a youngsters now to the same or new heights.

    Frans was the luckiest man in sa rugby to took his friend HM team, players and development with his game plan and worked with that for the past 5 to 6 years.

  10. @Jacques(Bunny):

    That remains to be seen Jacques. Im not too sure that any coach would be very successfull at the Bulls this year. But Im willing to wait and see what Frans does, he has never really inspired to much faith in me, but let’s wait and see.

    As for me pointing to the past, it was in direct answer to Biltongbek saying out gameplan has been outdated for years now, I dont believe it for a second, I reckon what we do have is a shortage of Superrugby quality personel and experience, some of these guys will get better with experience, some are just not good enough, nothing any gameplan or coach can do about that.

  11. @Aldo: With you their the plan is not out dated in fact most successful team have adopted their gameplan and combined it with some of their style of playing.

    HM was light years ahead of everyone else from 2000 to 2007

  12. @Aldo: aldo, answer me one question, not as a blinded Bulls fan, but as a rugby supporter.

    Does it not frustrate you to watch the Bulls always attacking the same space, hardly ever going beyond the one and (sometimes) two pass attack?

    If you answer that question honestly, you will admit the Bulls are one dimensional in attack.

  13. Biltongbek it does frustrate me, but that is not due to game plan but execution. They have exactly the same gameplan that saw them attacking space not too long ago. Everything frustrates me about the way they play at the moment, but then if I sit back and watch the game without emotion, it is rather clear that it is a problem with execution and not gameplan. A bit early in the season to go panick stations

  14. @Aldo: I realise this is the first game, but the same attacking method was used last year, it will beat teams who can’t match the physicality of the Bulls, but it won’t work against physical teams, the Bulls have shown during the Super 14 that they can be a great team, since, they haven’t been.

  15. @Aldo:

    They cannot get any worse can they…

    Depends on the openers as they are gobshite as they head into the tail…

    I simply cannot fathom why the carry middle order batsmen with sub par test averages like Duminy…

    Parnell isn’t all that… but he’s at least a better fast/med bowler than Robin Peterson is a ‘spinner’…

  16. Aussie’s tech guys/coaches etc are just too smart… they have answers for every player bat and ball-in-hand…

    C’mon Amla!

  17. Ja captain couragous lasted about 20 mins, but got out as he reached the nervous 9 with his batting of late. With De Kock replacing robin peterson and Parnell bringing some real pace in place of McClaren, we have some extra batting depth as well as better bowling options. Parnell has been rocketing them in around 150 k/ph domestically this season.

    I hope Elgar goes well, Alviro hasnt scored a 50 in a year and a half.

  18. WTF is wrong with Amla – some bad luck and now his confidence seems to be shot and can’t buy a run!

    You have to give the Aussies their due – they have been on fire the past few months!

  19. The way this game is going, we’ll head into lunch, lucky to have 50 on the board, which is fine, as long as we dont loose anymore wickets

  20. I really like what I see so far from Elgar. He is prepared to wear the blows on the body and willing to do the hard yards before scoring runs. With a bowler like Johnson running in and firing, you need to get inline and wear a few on the body.

  21. 64/2 at lunch. Elgar and Faf has really dug themselves in, here’s hoping they put together a big one. I esspecially like the look of Elgar, he looks really determined to stick it out, he’s been hit 2 or 3 times but doesnt seem to look initmidated. He is either very brave or very stupid, my opinion is that a good opening batsman should be a bit of both.

  22. @Aldo:

    Words on the Fox cricket panel at lunch from Mark Waugh and co…

    “Decent fight but they really offer nothing threatening after AB…”

    On Elgar… “Solid but hardly a game-breaker in what we’ve seen of him…”

  23. I’m with Timeo… overanalysis by people who should rather not tax the single figure brain cells….

    Leave it to whine in a low voice


    Energy is more accurately spent as compared nto intellectual capability…

  24. Nothing after ab is a bit arrogant. De Kock is still young but his 3 centuries in 3 odi’s against england shows a lot of promise

  25. Elgar has taken the body blows, taken his time to get runs, weathered the storm. Smith take note, that is how you open the batting.

  26. Cannot believe after all off that, Elgar throws his wicket away cheaply, now Duminy faces the new ball. And after Duminy it is the tail. Eish.

  27. But surely the Bulls built this gameplan around certain players they once had? Think Bakkies, Vic, FdP, Steyn, Meisiekind etc etc.

    So do they just use the same gameplan and shove new players into it, hoping that somehow it will still stick?

    Kak man,

    The Bulls have had to adapt first and foremost to losing FdP and then Steyn – both are once in a lifetime players.

    They have had to alter the way they play, and they did not.

  28. Dont say ‘thy simply are not executing it properly’

    The coaching staff cannot expect a totally different set of players and personalities to play the same style and have the same approach as todays players at the union has.

    You will remember that Heyneke built much of what was to become ‘the bulls way’ around Anton Leonard, Bakkies Botha and Danie Roussouw and Gary Botha, with FdP the general and either Hogaard or Steyn the points machine.

    Losing just Leonard (who was replaced by Spies) and FdP would have been reason enough to change the Bulls gameplan.

  29. So-Can’t-Wait….
    For this weekend’s premier bout featuring all that is good ( SA’s team – Your Fun-N’-Gun – Cheetahs) vs….
    The occult darkness that is….Zee bulls.

    My view is it’s Ides of March come early for ZBulls & an early spring renewal for the FunBunch.

    Good Guys pull it off by 11.

  30. Yeah I completely agree Americano, Good guys to invade the vatican and expose all the sin and darkness hidden by a veil of sunshine, Bulls to clean out and win by 6.

  31. That’s the spirit Aldo!
    All hands on deck and to the bitter end….ya never know its worked for Bashar Assad.

    Silliness aside, while its never lookded better for the Fun Bunch to down their arch nemesis for the first time ever in SuperRugby ( that’s quite embarassing really ) my thrill would be dampened by Zee Bulls #1 Superfan’s heavy heart….

  32. As would mine at the loss of the Cheetahs or even worse, The Sunking himself have a poor game. I will have a heavy heart at the sadness felt in the Americano household should that happen.

    All the best! But then I hope all the best comes my team’s way.