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Ex-Springboks assistant Frans Ludeke a shock contender to land URC job

By Neil Fissler
Head coach Frans Ludeke of Kubota Spears is seen prior to the Top League playoff tournament 2nd round between Kubota Spears and Yamaha Jubilo at Edogawa Stadium on April 24, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Kubota Spears boss Frans Ludeke has emerged as a shock contender to take over the reins at the financially troubled United Rugby Championship outfit Ulster next season.

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South African Ludeke, who celebrates his 56th birthday today [April 24], led Kubota Spears, where he has been coaching since 2016, to their first Japan Rugby League One crown last season.

The former Springboks assistant coach gained nine years of Super Rugby experience with the Bulls and Cats before coaching Fiji’s forwards and running their lineout game at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

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He was a leading candidate to take over the Japanese national team when Jamie Joseph departed after the Cherry Blossoms exited from the pool stages of the World Cup last year following defeats to England and Argentina.

Ludeke eventually missed out on the appointment to former England boss Eddie Jones, who was given the job for the second time after he walked out on Australia just 10 months into a five-year contract.

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Kubota Spears have struggled this season after missing Bernard Foley for much of the campaign. They are seventh in the table, 32 points behind runaway leaders Saitama Wild Knights.

Ulster put Richie Murphy in charge at Kingspan Stadium when they sacked Dan McFarland in February as they looked to the Ireland U20s coach to get the best out of their young players.

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Murphy has got a one-year contract on the table to stay in Belfast next season, but it has not been signed yet as he looks for a longer-term deal, which has led Ulster bosses to speak to Ludeke.

Ludeke, who led the Bulls to Super Rugby titles, would have to accept strict financial restraints, with Ulster making cutbacks to their planting squad after a couple of poor years of financial results.

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Abe 2 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

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Turlough 6 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
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