The absence of Trevor Nyakane and the vagaries of Glen Jackson’s whistle were obviously factors, but Bulls forwards coach Pote Human said it was mostly a case of his side simply not playing to the best of their abilities in their defeat by the Stormers at Newlands last weekend.
It all started in the scrums, with the Stormers taking full advantage of the Springbok tighthead’s withdrawal due to a neck niggle, and smashing the Bulls in the first three scrums, allowing them to race into a 12-0 lead in as many minutes.
“It was very disappointing because we did not play as we can. You have to give the Stormers credit, they smashed us up front and to allow a 20-metre rolling maul is unacceptable for the Bulls. Trevor is a good player, a Springbok and I believe he will play for the Boks again this year, but Conrad van Vuuren will learn from this. He got better as the
game went on, but he really struggled in the first 10 minutes.
“But our attitude was a real positive. At the Bulls you can’t go back, up or down, and the guts were there. But the Stormers did finish off the game very well. The talent is here but we just need to learn quicker. Our consistency is definitely a problem, with the play-offs still reachable. If you don’t pitch for a game, if you’re 10% off your best, then you’re not going to win. If you play like that then you cannot blame the referee. We didn’t deserve to win, the Stormers were better than we were,” Human said of the 29-17 defeat in Cape Town.
The Stormers were clearly motivated by the battering they took up front when they lost to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld at the end of March, and the Pretoria side will face another team with a big pack intent on revenge this weekend.
The Sharks travel up to the Highveld still smarting from the 40-10hammering the Bulls gave them at King’s Park three weeks ago, but with their confidence restored by their win over the Stormers and their impressive dismantling of the Highlanders.
“I think the Sharks just had an off-day when we played them in Durban, they had been on a high after their good tour, and it won’t be the same this weekend. On Saturday we will see that they are a great team and they have a great pack of forwards. If your forwards dominate then you always have a good chance of winning,” Human