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Sharks aim to win away


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 10 Sep 2013 at 12:45
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Fresh from a tough session on the park, under the watchful eye of Sharks Director of Rugby Brendan Venter, we caught up with utility back Louis Ludik for a quick chat.

“Ja, it was a tough one,” he admits, with the Sharks coaches understandably in none too charitable a mood after Saturday’s defeat at Newlands. It’s not all doom and gloom in the squad though, as Louis tells us. “Brendan said to us that if, at the beginning of the campaign, we’d been offered this – as a new team with a new coaching staff, to be just one point behind the log leaders at the half-way stage – we’d definitely have taken it.” That’s not to say, of course, that the team is not determined to put right what went wrong over the weekend, but more an indication that they’ll back themselves, back the process and not panic after a poor result.

“Province really did take us apart in the first half, but we’re proud of our second half showing, once we managed to get our game going a bit more. It can be difficult, as a back, when you’re only getting that sort of messy ball and you’re always under pressure, but that just means we need to step up more, make sure to cross the advantage line and start getting things going forward again.”

Louis has been asked to step into a midfield role for the campaign, after playing the majority of his prior rugby in the back three. “Brendan was actually quite relieved,” he tells us, “when I came through the last few games of Super Rugby at centre, because we don’t have a lot of centre options in the squad; with Francois Steyn, Paul Jordaan and Marius Joubert all injured, it’s only really Heimar Williams and Tim Whitehead left and with the rotation system Brendan wants to use, it’s important to have more options than that. I’m really glad I can help out and I’m enjoying it a lot and learning a great deal, even though I still consider myself mainly fullback by trade.”

Looking ahead to the Griquas game, Louis tells us that Venter is very keen to instill a confidence when it comes to playing away from home. “We have more matches away in the second round, but Brendan really wants to work on our mindset about that”, he says. “When we’re in Durban, all of our surroundings and things are familiar and comfortable, but we need to be a team with the confidence to produce our best rugby without those things to fall back on.”

Louis and his wife will head to France, to play for Agen, on completion of the Currie Cup season. “We really felt that the time was right for the move,” he tells us, “and we’re really excited about the opportunity to travel a bit and to see a different part of the world. We know there will be lots of adjustments to make – and the weather will be hard – but we thought and prayed about this decision a lot and really feel it’s the right one. I was lucky in that Heyneke Meyer was very open with me when I spoke to him – about where I fitted in – so that made the decision easier. We’re not sure yet what will happen afterwards, maybe we’ll finish up in France, but perhaps if I get the chance I could also come back to finish my career in South Africa.”

For now, though, Louis remains completely focused on the current Currie Cup campaign, with Saturday’s Kimberley clash against Griquas seen as “a massive, massive challenge. They beat us in the first round and we really do need to make good on that performance when we play them in Kimberley”.



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