Bulls: “Maul” makes rugby Special



Bulls coach Frans Ludeke believes rugby should remain a game for all shapes and sizes and the maul is an integral part of the game.

Ludeke, speaking in a teleconference call after his team arrived in Napier on Thursday, defended his team’s extensive use of the rolling maul as an attacking weapon. Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett fired the first verbal barrage in the build-up to their Super Rugby showdown at McLean Park on Saturday when he told the New Zealand media that the Bulls’ rolling maul is “illegal”.

Ludeke said, the rolling maul is a key element of the game. “The maul is part of rugby,” he said from Napier, adding: “That is what it makes it such a special game, a game for all shapes and sizes, a game for all styles.

“Teams that like to carry the ball from all over the field, they can have a go. “[Some] New Zealand sides, like the Crusaders and even the Highlanders, maul pretty well – that is part of the game.”

Ludeke said he accepted Hammett’s point about it having to be a ‘fair contest’ when you defend the maul. “However, at the same time, teams that are effective at the maul would also like referees to make good decisions in terms of when you have set your maul and you are going that it can also work in your favour. “It is a way of getting go-forward.”

The Bulls mentor said they spend many hours on practicing mauls. “Just like other teams spend hours on their attacking shape and running lines,” Ludeke said. “It is all about having a balanced gameplan as well.

“Sometimes it is wet and raining, then you can’t carry the ball and you need to have an alternative option. “You do need the maul in the game, you can’t just always carry and run it – weather conditions don’t always allow it.” Ludeke is adamant that his team is no one-dimensional and do have an allround game.

“We haven’t been accurate in that [executing our game plan] and hopefully on tour we can be better in those areas – like carrying the ball, shaping the defence and having a go,” he said. The Bulls coach said his charges have coped well with the travel.

They left South Africa late on Tuesday, stayed over in Auckland on Wednesday and arrived in Napier on Thursday afternoon (New Zealand time).

By Jan de Koning

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


  1. The maul is fine if its policed properly.

    If stationary, its done. Blow whistle.

    If moving backwards, other team can contest ball from sides.

    Its cool as long as the maul suck in defenders – so too the scrum.

    Give the fatties something to do.

  2. Nah mr Brendon, why advocate illegal tactics if it stops once. If you want to stop it, do it legally. Enough teams have been successfull at it if they put enough effort into it. The maul is a thing of beauty and good defense of a maul makes me just as excited as a major hit in midfield. The way it stands now, you get one go at it if it goes static, second time it becomes use it or lose. Fine by me.

    Why should only backline players be allowed the glory? Give the forwards the tries man, as long as it is scored I dont mind who scores it.

  3. @Aldo:

    Fine by me, but then let it be scored fairly – not like we sometimes see with the players in the front of maul basically like american football players breaking off and obstructing every tackler.

  4. @Aldo:

    I wonder why noobody has copied the 2004 Cheetahs defence of countermauling away from the direction of the maul towards the touchline forcing iit into toouch?

    If the maul is so illegal and dangerous and undefendable how come so few mauls give tries… I mean look at the Bulls last weekend.. if sense was told and the Bulls such masters of this illegal tactic then the final few minutes of mauls should have seen them score at least two tries…

    They didn’t…

    The Maul is fair contest… there are plenty chances to stop it… the easiest of which iis the sack and lise under the feet of the maulers which the Kiwis are brilliant at pulling off.

    Only teams that are poor at defending whine about the maul.

  5. @DavidS:

    You are right. I guess what is frustrating about the maul is that sense that you can predict what teams will do next.

    For the viewer this is not great. That set piece close to the line should bring anticipation of a great set move about to happen – instead with many teams you know the old fatties are going to maul, and if the maul dont work will bash and bash and bash until their fat little hands knock on the ball.

  6. @Cheetah Glory:

    Nothing wrong with forwards setting a beautifully worked maul and powerfully rolling it towards a tryline and the opposition desperately trying to to set a defence against the maul but having not expected it being totally unprepared and watching your side roll over them like a steamroller crushing some platry worms…

    DO NOT tell me that watching the Bulls penalty try maul was an absolute thing of beauty…

    Rugby has mane different facets and ways of playing… and all are beautiful.

    Watching your side maul another side to death… a well worked tricksy backline move, a massive tackle… all are things of beauty… if viewers are picky about what they like in ruugby maybe they should change the channel and just watch the bowlers in their side’s cricket game or just watch the strikers in their side’s soccer game.
    because watching midfielders and defenders is just too boring.