Bulls won’t gamble with World Cup Boks

After selecting Victor Matfield on the bench for Saturday’s match against the Melbourne Rebels, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke reiterated that they will not expose potential World Cup players to unnecessary risks.

‘The agreement [with Saru] is that we will never gamble with one of the key players who form part of South Africa’s World Cup campaign planning,” Ludeke said after he announced that Victor Matfield will start on the bench on Saturday.

The Bulls captain, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Wednesday, had been struggling with a minor neck injury, but the Bulls coach highlighted that the second-rower is a key player and that his team cannot afford another loss.

As far as the involvement of the national coaching setup is concerned, Ludeke said that he is aware of what is being asked from Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

Ludeke does, however not see it as interference.

‘I would not say there is pressure, we have had a few discussions before our bye and he [De Villiers] raised from his side that player management and time on the field is an important aspect that we need to manage.

‘But he is aware of our situation and that we now only try and manage players on the field, but also in the amount of training they do during the week leading up to that game.”

Matfield said that he has recovered well during the team’s bye week and he would not mind getting out there in the last 30 minutes of the game.

With Matfield not leading his men out, the fortress they reclaimed against the Chiefs, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will lead the squad.

The stand-in skipper admitted that there is a renewed belief in confidence in the squad after their massive fight back against the men from Waikato two weeks ago.


Asked whether the team is more relaxed now du Preez said: ‘It is more a confidence thing. It is a tough competition and if your confidence drops a little the whole team struggles and I think that last 50 minutes of the Chiefs game some things started coming together for us.”

‘Our confidence is back but it is still a must win for us and that will be the case until the end so the win helped us.

‘But we now have to focus on the Rebels although the pressure is slightly less than in our last match.” — Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Judge trashes entire lockdown regime as constitutionally flawed

The high court ruling will delight gatvol South Africans but is unlikely to stand the test of time

The backlogs, denials and future of testing Covid-19

The National Health Laboratory Services finally admitted to a bottleneck last week, after denying there were any issues since April. According to the service, the backlog of 80 000 tests started in the first week of May
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday