Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has praised his side for a “remarkable team effort” in beating the Highlanders 47-17 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The calibre of the opposition in the match that saw the 2007 champions get up after a series of defeats did not matter, Ludeke said, because there were no easy matches in the Super 14.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that it would be unfair towards a remarkable team effort to denigrate the performance because the Highlanders were not at their best after they had narrowly lost to the Sharks the previous weekend.
“When I talk about a team effort, I refer not only to the 80 minutes on the field but also to how intensely we had prepared throughout the week, under increasing pressure, for the match.
“We knew it was a matter of now or never,” Ludeke said.
“The most important part of the victory was that we went in hard right at the start. We used our opportunities brilliantly.
“This makes one wonder what could have happened in our previous matches had we been able to finish (attacking moves) well.”
Scoring in the first minute was the right medicine at the right time, Ludeke said.
Radiated new energy
When the Bulls added a third-minute try to Morné Steyn’s opening penalty goal “one could see from their body language they were on a mission. They radiated new energy,” Ludeke said.
The most satisfying aspect was that the Bulls scored tries from broken play, the coach added.
More good news is that scrumhalf Heine Adams has not suffered another broken leg, as was feared when he was injured during the match. However, he is likely to be out of action for up to three weeks.
The Bulls have a bye this week but it is unlikely that Adams will play against the Waratahs at Loftus Versfeld on May 3.
Adams broke the same leg last year and missed most of the season.
His latest injury is a setback but the Bulls uncovered gold when 19-year-old Francois Hougaard replaced him.
“Yes, he played well. He just proved again that if you’re good enough you’re old enough,” Ludeke said. “He is ready for Super 14 rugby and he seized the opportunity with both hands.”
The other Hougaard in the squad, flyhalf Derick, will still be available for the Bulls and the Blue Bulls for a long time, according to Ian Schwartz, business manager of the Blue Bulls Company.
There have been rumours that the Springbok may be on his way to France, but Schwartz says Hougaard has renewed his contract with the company for another four years.
The player known as “the darling of Loftus Versfeld” played in his 50th match for the Bulls on Saturday.Tweet