Bulls cancel second training day
Some may call it shellshock, or "Sharkshock" after what happened in Durban last Friday night, but the Vodacom Bulls did something on Tuesday they hardly ever do – cancelled a second day of training.
While it is customary for the Loftus Versfeld team to taper down on the training as the season wears on, and Monday afternoon sessions at this time of year have traditionally become optional affairs given the amount of injuries that are prevalent, the decision to cancel a second day’s training is almost unheard of, and certainly not something that happens often in Pretoria.
With a tough final game against the Lions coming up, the Bulls are still licking their wounds after their big defeat against the Sharks and will need to regroup, so they have decided to concentrate on mental, rather than physical activities at the moment.
Coach Frans Ludeke laughed off suggestions that the side had been sent home to do some thinking about their performance, but explained there were too many niggling injuries in the squad.
“It’s nothing really,” Ludeke told SuperSport.com, “We just need to make sure we sort out all the niggles. There are a couple of small injuries and it doesn’t help to aggravate them. The players are still at Loftus, even though they’re not on the field, they’re at the physios and doing one-on-one sessions with the coaches.”
There is no doubt the Bulls know they need to bounce back from the Durban defeat, one where they were beaten by a much better side on the night.
As Ludeke says, now is the time to take the step up, or it may be too late. Even though the Bulls will know all too well what they have to do and could well have already qualified for the play-offs by the start of their games, Ludeke says there is only one option this weekend, and that’s winning.
“The Sharks game was an important one for us, and they exerted a lot of pressure on us and we struggled to get out of our half, but we were better in the second half against them. We needed to be sharper – especially in the pressure we exerted in our kicking game and our accuracy at the breakdown wasn’t good.
"Our reaction time wasn’t good at all and I’m definitely not satisfied. But we have an important game this weekend against the Lions and we need to come back and win this weekend.
“We need to be more accurate this weekend and win. Losing is part of this competition and you need to take responsibility when you lose to come back and stand up and ensure you win again after that.”
The only likely change to the side is the inclusion of Wilhelm Steenkamp in the place of the injured Flip van der Merwe. On the bench it will be a straight choice between young Cornell Hess in Steenkamp’s place, or an extra loose forward in Bok Deon Stegmann, with Jacques Potgieter likely to move to lock in the second half to cover the gap on the bench.