Bulls coach Frans Ludeke wants his team to play 80 minutes of committed rugby when they face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, as he looks to end a two-match losing streak.
Speaking to Jan de Koning of rugby365.com after his team’s 13-16 defeat at the hands of the Crusaders at the weekend, Ludeke pointed o defence and the breakdown as the two key areas against the Waratahs.
The Waratahs has the best defensive record in the competition, letting in just 13 tries in eight games.
“Defence has always been important,” Ludeke said, when questioned about the Waratahs.
“You must close down their spaces and not give them time on the ball,” the Bulls coach said, adding that his team showed good defensive qualities in keeping the Crusaders tryless for 74 minutes – with a freakish bounce of the ball in the sixth minute giving the Crusaders their only try.
“In general it seems were are all playing less rugby,” the Bulls coach said about a Super 14 season in which defensive lines have been more prominent than try-scoring bonus points.
“There certainly are teams that try to play a more expansive game, but you need to get into the right areas before playing more attacking rugby.
“Defence is obviously important – you need to be sound in the set pieces and after that ensure they don’t get over the advantage line and prevent them from getting go-foward ball.”
Ludeke said the key area is the battle at the breakdown.
“You need to be consistent in that aspect [the breakdown],” he told rugby365.com.
He said that after impressive form at the breakdown during the first month of the competition, and even in the first tour match against the Hurricanes, the Bulls came unstuck against the Highlanders late last month.
“We were much better this past weekend than the week before against the Highlanders, but we still turned over some ball.
“However, we were certainly more accurate at the breakdown.
“We got into good positions with the ball in hand, but then turned the ball over in contact.
“Those are things that we work on every week and will we need a big 80-minute effort to get the result [against the Waratahs].”
Ludeke said that despite successive tour defeats against the Highlanders and Crusaders, which saw them drop from first to fourth on the standings, he is happy with his team’s progress.
“We know where we are heading and there’s still plenty of rugby left in this competition.
“We still have two tour matches left [against the Waratahs and Brumbies] and they are very both important.
“That is where our focus is at present. Our next game is against the Waratahs.
“This week we must have a good week of preparation to give ourselves a good chance [of victory].”
The Bulls will know on Monday the full extend of fullback Zane Kirchner’s injury, who took a knock to his buttock muscle and could be a doubtful started for the encounter with the Waratahs.Tweet