Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has refused to accept that he has risked the chances of the Bulls beating the Queensland Reds by selecting Morne Steyn, traditionally a flyhalf, at fullback for the match.
Instead, Ludeke justified Steyn’s selection in place of Zane Kirchner, who is serving the first week of his two week suspension for a red card he received for committing a spear tackle against the Lions.
“I am no gambler. I have never gambled before in my life. This is a calculated decision,” said Ludeke from the team’s base on the Gold Coast.
“Zane is only out for two weeks and it wouldn’t have made sense to take a replacement on tour because then we’d be unable to bring Zane back. Zane is by far our best fullback.
“I am not at all concerned about Morne because now he will have more time and space than he usually does at flyhalf.
“As a flyhalf you have to learn about fullback play because it is one of your target areas, so Morne will have an understanding of the position.”
The only other change in the team besides Steyn’s positional move is the return of centre JP Nel to the starting line-up after serving his one match ban for a spear tackle.
Nel comes in at outside centre with Wynand Olivier moving back to more familiar ground at inside centre.
The rest of the Bulls outfit that did so well against the Lions stays put with the steadily maturing front row of Rayno Gerber, Derick Kuun and Gurthro Steenkamp playing in their fifth consecutive match.
Bakkies Botha and Wilhelm Steenkamp will be the fire in the engine room in the second row while the all Springbok loose trio of Pedrie Wannenburg, Wikus van Heerden and Danie Rossouw will be tasked with retaining and stealing as much possession as is humanly possible.
Wannenburg will be playing in his 61st consecutive Super rugby match and in his 75th overall appearance for the Bulls at Super rugby level.
The Reds decision to strip John Roe of the captaincy and hand it over to Sam Cordingley seems a drastic move, even though the Reds have suffered three consecutive losses.
But Ludeke is staying focused on his own team.
“I don’t want to comment on the Reds. For me it makes sense to think that there is a lot of frustration in the team and that is why the changes.
“But that is not important to us, we have to prepare for a big battle against them,” said Ludeke.Tweet