Lack of Bok spot led to move, says Ludik

2013-11-13 00:00

LOUIS Ludik, the consistent Sharks utility back who has left Durban to play his rugby in France, says that a lack of recognition at Springbok level had convinced him to make the move.

The former Golden Lions player joined the Sharks in 2010, playing at fullback as the Sharks beat Western Province 30-10 in the Currie Cup final that year; last month he was at outside centre when the title was regained at Newlands.

The 27-year-old Ludik, a skilful player and one of the bravest defenders in South African rugby, has battled with injury this year but he was back in place of Tim Whitehead at outside centre for the Currie Cup play-offs, and he played a major role in closing down the threatening Western Province backline in the Cape Town final.

He has now joined former Sharks lock Ross Skeate at Agen in France, but says he has left Durban with a heavy heart.

The initial Agen offer came last year but it was only after learning that he was no nearer playing international rugby after three excellent seasons with the Sharks that he decided to make the move.

“I came to the Sharks with the dream of becoming a Springbok, and unfortunately that didn’t work out,” he told the Sharks website. “The decision to go over to France was made much easier when it was communicated to me that I was not really in the Bok plans.”

The Sharks, missing their Springboks after Super Rugby, wanted Ludik to see out his contract and the Currie Cup season.

“The decision to stay or go was a huge one for us to make. The Sharks wanted me to play out my contract and Agen were cool about that.’

“It will be a challenge with the colder weather, especially after this wonderful weather in Durban, but it’s something you have to deal with. I visited Agen a couple of months ago to check it all out and they treated me professionally and with respect. I was very impressed.”

But Ludik said that playing four years of Currie Cup rugby (2010-13) and three in Super Rugby (2011-2013) — nearly 100 games — for the Sharks had been “the best experience of my life”.

“Obviously there were a lot of challenges and being the only non-Bok made it tough sometimes to get into the squad.

“But it was an amazing experience to play with such good players. There were challenges, but I loved being here. There were a lot of expectations riding on our success which meant we could never relax. But that’s the life of a professional rugby player.

“I will never forget my time with the Sharks though. This is the best union in the country, by far and I lived my dream.”

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