Ulster Rugby v Benetton Rugby


Hailing from South Africa, Ulster utility back Louis Ludik joined the ranks of Ulster Rugby in 2014, lending his keen instinct for attack and powerful defence to an already potent backline.

Louis enjoyed the chance to relax and reflect on Ulster’s progress to date during the mid-season break and took time to share his thoughts on the team’s performance so far this season... “I think we’ve done ok so far. For me, the biggest disappointment was the loss against Zebre and there were a couple of games where we didn’t play as well as we would have liked or maybe we missed a couple of bonus points but on the whole, we’re sitting second in our conference table so I think we’re doing ok. “This Christmas period is going to be very important for us as the international guys are away and there are quite a few others injured so we’re getting into the depth of the squad which is testing us out a bit more. But we’ve continued to train hard and we’re looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.” Changes to the championship at the start of the season saw the introduction of two South African teams to the PRO14 competition meaning Louis and his Ulster team mates found themselves bound southwards to take on Southern Kings in South Africa at the start of November. Speaking on the opportunity to play once again in his homeland Louis commented:

spend that quality time. Every now and then they come over to visit, over Christmas it’s a bit too cold for them but normally they come over in summer when Europe is beautiful and hot, so it’s nice.” Having successfully seen off Benetton on their home turf back in September, Ulster can be sure that the Italians will be out to settle old scores tonight and with their marked improvement in form over the course of the season Louis is careful not to underestimate the challenge that Treviso offer. “Benetton’s physicality is a massive step up from the previous years and defensively they’re really good - it’s really difficult to break them down. We struggled down there when we played them in September and we’ve looked at all their games since they played us and they can really play, they’ve definitely worked hard on a lot of areas and made big improvements. “There’s a lot of stuff that we’ve worked on, especially attack-wise. I think for us the main thing would be to keep the ball in hand. We’ve made a lot of mistakes, a lot of knock-ons that’s been killing our momentum and that’s been very frustrating for us and the coaches so I think that’s a massive focus for us to hold onto the ball go through the phases to break them down and give our supporters the win. Louis has featured in 7 out of 10 games for Ulster this season and while he is understandably delighted with the opportunity to clock up the game time, he remains firmly focused on constant improvement and continues to set himself stretching goals. “I’m pretty happy with how the season is going for me personally but obviously, you always want to improve and get better. I’ve been fortunate enough to play in most of the games so far this season and I’ve been enjoying it but I still think there’s a lot of improvement to be made so I always try to work harder every week. “I always like to set goals for myself to continually improve. I’d obviously like to play as much as possible and try and stay injury free. The European games are hugely important for us so my biggest goal would be to be included in those squads, to be starting - that would be the biggest target for me at the moment.”

INTERVIEW: LOUIS LUDIK “I really enjoyed the chance to play in South Africa again. It was a lot of fun and great to get a bit of heat and see the family. It felt like old times again with the hard field and every time I looked onto the screen it wasn’t a lush green pitch it was more yellowish green and a lot harder so I really felt like I was back home and I really enjoyed it. Obviously playing outside of Port Elizabeth a bit was a bit different but it was a good vibe. Fortunately, we pulled the win off in the end. It was a good, high scoring game game and great to be back.

“For the guys, I think the highlight of the trip was the chance to do the safari, that was great and we all really enjoyed it. We had a lot of time together in the hotel and went out for a few dinners so that was a lot of fun. “For me personally it was just great to spend some quality time with my family - I’m away from them for the whole year so it was special to catch up and



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