If the unhappiness at the Bulls camp in George is a sign of things to come, then the Bulls will continue to occupy the lower part of the Super 14 and will also exit next year’s Currie Cup without any silverware.
Rumours abound that a great majority of the Bulls squad are unhappy at the fact that a group of senior players and management are not staying with the rest of the squad at the Hoerskool Outeniqua hostel as has been the norm over the years.
Coach Frans Ludeke has led the small but influential and senior pack away from the hostel with captain Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and forwards coach Johan van Graan all choosing to stay in and around George in more luxurious circumstances.
They only go to the camp at the school for training, one-on-one sessions and meetings.
Furthermore, there is discord among the players in the squad as they don’t agree with certain conditions of their stay at the hostel.
They are required to pay for the breakfast and lunch provided at the hostel, and fend for themselves for supper.
“This has never happened before.
“We have always stayed together as a team at the hostel, including the coaches, but now things are being done differently,” said a prominent player who wanted to remain anonymous.
“Certain guys are not staying here as they have houses or family down here which makes life much easier for them.
“Aren’t they part of the team? Are they better than the rest of us?
“Even the coach is not here.
“As far as I know we are a team, we play together as a team and we should go through the same hardships as a team staying in this hostel,” he said.
“Where have you heard of a team building exercise where the employees have to pay?
“We now have to pay for our food but we are working.
“So far as I know, one gets paid for working. One does not pay to work,” the player said.
Apparently, Ludeke has been made aware of these grievances and has promised to address them with the bosses at Loftus Versfeld in the new year.
Since the arrival of Ludeke at the Bulls, there seems to have been a power shift with players seemingly dictating terms.
Earlier this year, a revolt by senior players led to the dismissal of much-vaunted backline coach Nico le Roux, after he spent only three weeks in his new job.
Ludeke does not seem to have the full support of his management with Pote Human leaving after the Super 14 and defensive coach John McFarland failing to return to the Bulls after his leave last month.
Ludeke will have to take charge in the beginning of the year, if he hopes to improve on his record and that of the Bulls in the Super 14 and Currie Cup.
There is little hope of new silverware, if the team continues to be so divided.