Ludeke relieved of Lions coaching job

Cats coach Frans Ludeke was on Wednesday relieved of his duties as Lions coach for this season’s Currie Cup.

South Africa Under-19 coach and Ludeke’s assistant at the Lions, Eugene Eloff, was announced as the man to take the Lions’ hot seat at a press briefing held in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Ludeke’s sacking comes on the back of the Cats’ poor showing in the Super 14, where they just managed to evade the wooden spoon, ending in 13th position one spot ahead of the bottom team, the Western Force.

The Cats managed to win only two of their 14 matches with one ending in a draw.

“We are certainly disappointed with the Super 14 campaign, but we have learnt a lot of lessons going forward.

“We have asked Eugene [Eloff] to coach the Lions Currie Cup team for this season and we have decided to free Frans Ludeke from his duties. We have full confidence in the decision we have made going forward,” said Lions president Jannie Ferreira.

However, the Lions have not cast Ludeke into the rugby wilderness and the union has been in discussion with New Zealand Super 14 franchise the Crusaders to have Ludeke go on a learner-ship programme.

Ludeke will also be joining the Springbok management team for this year’s international season as part of his learning programme.

“We have been in discussions with the Crusaders to send Frans over there so that he can learn how they do things,” Ferreira said.

However, Ludeke might be facing the axe as Cats coach as well, with Ferreira indicating that he was not sure whether Ludeke would be at the helm of the Johannesburg franchise for next season’s Super 14 campaign.

“That decision is not for the Golden Lions Rugby Union to make but rather up to the board of the Cats. We will obviously guide their decision as a major shareholder at the Cats,” said Ferreira, who is also the CEO of the Cats.

Ludeke was rather upbeat about being relieved of his coaching duties, saying that he deserved a break after not having one for the past eight years in his professional coaching term.

“I am excited about this new phase at the Lions. In my eight years since becoming a professional coach this is going to be my first break mentally. This is also a great opportunity for me to go out there and explore,” said Ludeke.

Ludeke, though, will not be the only casualty as Ferreira hinted to a possibility of certain players also going to spend time with teams abroad.

“We are looking at sending players elsewhere,” Ferreira said.—Sapa

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