The Blue Bulls are not taking much notice of statistics that suggest their chances of beating the Sharks in the Currie Cup final in Durban on Saturday are not particularly good.
Experts’ observations and insight do add a lot of status to any Currie Cup final but they don’t have any influence on the result, says Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that responding to predictions from most experts that the Sharks would win the trophy for the first time since 1996, Ludeke said, “If they feel we are second favourites it’s their right to do so.
“The Bulls have won trophies when they were the favourites and also when no one gave them a chance. To us, any prediction is six of the one and half a dozen of the other.”
Among the reasons for installing the Sharks as favourites is their hunger to win because it has been so long since they last held the Currie Cup.
Another reason is that they will be looking for revenge after losing last year’s Super 14 final against the Bulls in the last seconds of match.
“One must accept that the Sharks are hungry but the Bulls have reason to be equally determined to win the final,” Ludeke said.
“Remember what Victor Matfield said before the semi-final against the Cheetahs: ‘The more trophies you win the more enjoyable it becomes.’“
Matfield also said at the time, “Beer tastes at its best when you drink it from the Currie Cup. We play to win trophies.”
Ludeke emphasised that the result of cup finals were not determined by what experts said or by how the teams had done in previous matches.
It was equally important for players not to listen to speculation about personal duels, he added.
“Individual brilliance is, of course, an important asset to any team but rugby remains a team game. Even the best player can’t do anything if those around him do not contribute to the execution of the game plan.
“The pressure is at it greatest when it’s a matter of all or nothing. It is in such extreme situations that players have to carry each other. The team that keeps their cool as a unit, especially in the last 20 minutes, should have the last laugh.
“The result of a final is determined by the temperament, defence, decision making, finishing and discipline of all the players.”
Ludeke will know on Monday whether Akona Ndungane will be available for the final. Team doctor Org Strauss said on Sunday there was a 90 percent chance that the wing would be able to train flat out on Monday morning.Tweet