After losing their four- match winning streak when they were beaten at the last minute by the Lions last week, the Bulls were rampant in the second half against the Reds scoring six tries in total and keeping their place at the top of the South African conference.
The win will do the Bulls’ confidence a world of good as they face two away fixtures against the Sharks and Stormers in what could be the making or breaking of their campaign.
Even though the Bulls turned their season around by beating the Sharks earlier on after two consecutive losses at home, next weekend will see them face a Sharks team equally desperate to turn things around after indifferent results recently.
The pressure will continue to be on the Bulls to continue winning to not only remain on top of the South Africa conference and in the top three spots on the combined log, but two victories before facing the Lions again and going on tour will be critical in making sure they remain in the title race.
“For sure (it is make or break) but we will take it week by week. We weren’t happy with the way we lost the game against the Lions last week and so the team responded well which shows how desperate they are to do well this season. From Monday (today) we will start planning for the Sharks and we know what they are capable of doing,” said Ludeke.
While the coach will want to be loyal to the players that have performed well for his team recently, the Bulls will in all likelihood beef up their stock with the return of the cavalry in the form of Springboks Adriaan Strauss, Handre Pollard, Lappies Labuschagne and Jan Serfontein from injury and their mandatory rest period.
If the Bulls are to do well in the next three weeks against local sides they will need to be at the top of their game and therefore the need to select their best side will be the overriding thought for Ludeke this week.
“It is a great situation to be in; you need depth in your squad. If the communication is upfront, it makes it easy for the players to remain committed. We will take stock on Monday and we face two vital away games in the next two weeks so it is a crucial time for us,” Ludeke said.
And the Bulls will take a lot of heart in the manner in which they played especially in that second half where they shut out the Reds with their good defence but also benefited greatly from their kick and chase strategy with fullback Jesse Kriel and wings Bjorn Basson and Francois Hougaard being the stars of the show.
“I am also very proud because we focused on that during last week. We really wanted to improve on our defence and we did so which gave us a lot of opportunity attacking wise,” said Bulls captain Pierre Spies.
“Before the game we realised that they kick long balls which opens up opportunities to put it up especially with their line coming up,” said Ludeke.
“I thought the guys were accurate with the kicks and the chases and that’s why it worked. It is always part of our game and we were clinical in executing it and getting opportunities.” - The Star
Original source: Pressure is on the Bulls – Ludeke