The Bulls’ position at the top the South African conference in this year’s Super Rugby campaign isn’t just good news for, well, the Bulls.
It’s also a development that will leave Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus smiling broadly.
One of the worst kept secrets in the local game in 2019 is that both sides are aiming to play the same type of game.
It’s not about aesthetics and running rugby, it’s all about dominating up front, laying a platform, taking chances when they come and maintaining composure on defence.
In other words, this isn’t fancy rugby.
It’s winning rugby … and the Bulls are playing it.
“I’m very proud when I hear other coaches say we’re playing clinical rugby,” said coach Pote Human after a solid 37-14 over the Sharks at Loftus at the weekend.
“I read the other day that Rassie is very impressed with the way we’re playing currently and that it’s the same type of pattern that he wants the national team to follow.”
The benefits in the broader context are obvious.
“I believe it’s a really good platform that we’re laying for the Springboks later this year, especially with a World Cup coming up,” said Human.
“More importantly, it suits us and thus helps us too. We’re playing good rugby and that makes me proud.”
The Bulls mentor isn’t even concerned about a lack of bonus points.
“In the past we’ve played attractive rugby, but faded away. We first want to get some consistency going, win games on the trot and the rest will take care of itself.”
His counterpart, Robert du Preez, once again highlighted how the Bulls suffocated his team and had them playing catch-up.
“Compliments to them,” said the Sharks coach.
“They dismantled the Lions and dismantled us here. It’s a recipe that’s working for them.”
Despite his squad being laden with Springboks too, Du Preez lauded the influence of two of Erasmus’ Bok bolters: Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits.
“They’ve come in and made a massive difference. They’re helping in leading this team and that’s influencing (Bulls and Bok pivot) Handre Pollard, who’s controlling everything at the back.”