; Bulls not yet the finished product – The Citizen

Bulls not yet the finished product

awera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld on March 29, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images

awera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld on March 29, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images

The stark difference in how the Bulls closed out their Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at the weekend to their meeting with the Sharks two weeks ago was a timely reminder of their burgeoning, but incomplete status as a squad.

Frans Ludeke’s troops were comfortably ahead 34-22 with only six minutes to go before a rash of turnover ball, coupled by a porous defence – which was a problem throughout the match – saw the defending champions boldly snatch a 34-34 draw.

“The game was there for the taking,” the Bulls coach lamented.

“The disappointing thing was that we really took control in the third quarter. We were patient and structured and scored some lovely tries but the Chiefs kept working hard and exploited our inability to close things out.”

Stand-in captain Victor Matfield was equally hard-nosed in stating that nothing less than a win would’ve satisfied the hosts but felt that their pursuit of a bonus point try wasn’t the reason for them relinquishing their grip on the match.

“I just think we gave them too much ball. It was that simple,” said the veteran.

“We actually should’ve bagged the fourth try, there was enough time for it. It was our overall execution that let us down, not our mindset. In those last minutes we actually went for poles after being awarded the one penalty, so we didn’t fail because we were overeager.”

While yawning gaps in midfield and sterile attacking play out wide were headaches, the Bulls could take heart from showcasing their proverbial traditional strengths.

The set-pieces functioned well and they looked potent when keeping the ball at close quarters.

“We pinned them well. The Chiefs’ first set-piece in our half came with 12 minutes to go,” noted Ludeke.

 

 

 

 

 

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