The Bulls, like all modern professional rugby teams, have all the latest technology to measure player performance, but one aspect that cannot be measured is attitude, and that’s what coach John Mitchell was most delighted with in their warm-up match against the Stormers in Wellington at the weekend.
The Bulls were held to a 26- 26 draw, but spurned numerous kicks at goal in order to try and score tries, in keeping with their stated goal of being more concerned with performance than results at this stage of the year.
“The mindset was really good, the guys showed a good attitude and we had a terrific start. We left a bit out there, but we’ve certainly shown good growth within a week and our structures are starting to show. The intent was good.
“It was hot and there were a lot of stoppages, but our tempo was better and our defensive linespeed was good,” Mitchell said of their four-try show which boasted some sharp attacking work, but also a suffocating defensive effort, especially at the breakdown.
Mitchell has now given most of his fringe players time in a competitive situation and he said the time has now come for the more established stars to start getting ready for their Super Rugby opener on February 24 against the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld.
“We’re three weeks away from our first game so we have a week up our sleeves still, but I will now be introducing more of the Japanese returnees, those who have been doing rehab and our Springboks in the next two weeks. The aim is that each player has 120- 150 minutes of play behind him,” Mitchell said.