Ludeke not worried about the axe

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Ludeke was responding to questions surrounding his future at Loftus Versfeld and that of his senior players after it emerged that his job could be on the line due to the poor run of results his team has had on their tour Down Under.

The Bulls are under immense pressure to make it into this year’s Super Rugby play-offs after last winning a trophy in 2010 under the mentorship of Ludeke considering they have one of the most talented squads in South Africa and in the competition.

While the Bulls endured a bad start to the competition with two home losses at the hands of the Stormers and Hurricanes, they were able to recover and all they needed to do on tour was win three out of their four matches to ensure that they make it into the knockout stages of the competition.

Further compounding Ludeke’s predicament has been the turmoil within his management team with speculation surfacing that half of his personnel won’t be available beyond this year with three of his backroom staff confirmed as leaving after backline coach Pieter Rossouw announced his departure prior to the team going on tour.

Yesterday, Ludeke did not sound fazed at the possibility of him being a victim to a wielding of the axe by the Bulls board of directors and instead was steadfast in saying that his job is to ensure the team do well in their match against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.

“Obviously my mind doesn’t want to go there but I am open-minded about the whole thing. I can’t make the decision so I don’t give it energy because I have a job at hand.

“We are in a must-win situation and we have worked hard after the bad start to the campaign where we managed to pull ourselves together and got on the right track. We were second on the log, we played well and then we came here (Down Under). Four weeks ago things were going according to the plan but now we haven’t got the results and that I will take responsibility for. I have respect for the people that appointed me and if their feelings have changed I can do nothing about it because they know me well enough, I have been eight years at the Bulls, that is why I say my job is to make sure that we finish well.

“Obviously we are in a situation that we don’t enjoy, we don’t want to be here, we want to be in the play-offs and that is why we will fight until the last game,” Ludeke said yesterday from the team’s base in Coegee Beach in Australia.

Ludeke is still holding onto the hope that his team can still make the play-offs even though they need some results to go in their favour and even more importantly for the coach it is the talks he has had with his employers this year that makes him confident that his job is not under threat.

“There is still hope. We need favours but there is still hope. I can’t allow my mind to start wandering about that (job). I’ve had good discussions with the board and everybody and we spoke about the future and it was positive conversations about the small changes we can make to improve the system. We have a board meeting Friday next week and I don’t want to pre-empt the meeting and what it will be about. We have a job at hand this weekend and that is my focus,” Ludeke added.

Ludeke though has done himself no favours by again selecting a team that is far from his best for the match against the Rebels.

Team:

Bulls: Jesse Kriel, Francois Hougaard, JJ Engelbrecht, Burger Odendaal, Travis Ismaiel, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Rudy Paige, Pierre Spies (capt), Jacques du Plessis, Lappies Labuschagne, Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe, Marcel van der Merwe, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Trevor Nyakane, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh, Arno Botha, Tian Schoeman, Bjorn Basson, Jurgen Visser. - Pretoria News

Original source: Ludeke not worried about the axe

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