Bulls

Bulls to give du Preez more time

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The Bulls have opted to give Fourie du Preez as much time as possible to recover from a calf injury so that he can play in their much-anticipated Super 14 clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.


The Bulls had planned to to make a call on Du Preez on Monday after training, but the Springbok halfback failed to run during the session and it will be left until Wednesday afternoon for the Bulls management to decide whether he will play on Saturday.


“Fourie didn’t run with the team at training and we’ll wait for him to do so before we make a decision on whether he will play against the Sharks. I think we will have a better idea on Wednesday and that is when we’ll make a final call on him,” Bulls doctor Org Strauss told The Mercury.


Du Preez’s injury poser is not a case of the Bulls calling a bluff as their minds will be occupied with sticking to their pre-season plan of ensuring that they gain that all-important home semi-final.


The Bulls need to be at full strength to go all the way in the competition and that includes Du Preez. They have to go to Durban and do what was earlier this season perceived as “mission impossible”, beating the Sharks at Absa Stadium.


“The last four or five games have been mini semi-finals and Saturday will be the same. But the way we approach the game will be the same. It’s just about keeping the head cool, getting the guys freshened up for the weekend and sticking to the plan,” said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.


“The plan has been there the whole season. It is just about fine tuning it and maybe adding a little variation in certain areas but nothing big,” he added.


Former Lions coach Frans Ludeke prefers to take a back seat and let the senior players in the team take charge. This means that players such as Matfield, Du Preez, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Morne Steyn, Wynand Oliver, Akona Ndungane and Bryan Habana who are treading on familiar ground and know how to go about grinding out a win in Durban.


Ludeke praised the team’s character in their come-from-behind 29-20 victory against the Cheetahs on Saturday and said that more of the same was what would be required in Durban for the Bulls to secure their second Super 14 home rugby semi-final in three years.


“Experience comes in here again. The guys are focused and they know they can pull it off.”


“We’ve had some great phases but we tend to miss that final pass and it is about staying calm, just being a little bit more patient and a little bit more direct,” Ludeke said.


“The mental side of the game is vital for any side. In this team it goes back to coaches and management before my time who have made it easier for me.”


“It’s a whole legacy that we keep building on and it’s also players who have been here a long time who take pride in the way they play and in not giving up,” the coach said.


“But we don’t want to talk too much. The focus is just on Saturday and taking it game by game.


“We still have another two games after this weekend but the next one is a vital one,” said Ludeke.


So vital that the Bulls are prepared to give Du Preez as much time as possible.

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