Mitchell concedes Stormers pack was better

06 May 2018 - 16:05 By Craig Ray
Coach John Mitchell of the Bulls during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld on April 28, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Bulls coach John Mitchell conceded that the Stormers pack were dominant during his side’s 29-17 loss at Newlands‚ but he was left confused by some refereeing decisions.

The Stormers moved to 22 points‚ but have played one game more.

The Stormers led 12-0 after 11 minutes but the Bulls fought back and briefly held a 17-12 lead after Jason Jenkins’ 48th minute try.

But a minute later the Stormers retook the lead when fullback SP Marais scored from the restart and the Bulls couldn’t bridge the gap.

The Stormers pack dominated the scrums and the home team’s lineout also had the better of the Bulls polished set piece.

In fact‚ both were areas the Bulls dominated on their way to a 33-23 win over the Stormers at Loftus earlier in the season.

“The Stormers won the forward battle‚ that was my view‚ so we will take it on the chin‚” said Mitchell at the post-match press conference.

“But I thought Jacko (referee Glen Jackson) was tough on us. I am not sure we got the rub of the green. We will look at it. Especially at the scrum time when you have knees on the ground the calls could go either way.

“The Stormers won the early races and then dug deep when we came back at them and led 17-12 so they showed character and all credit to them.

“I felt it was a very untidy performance from us and after putting ourselves right back in it at 17-12 to not take command of our position from there is something we are going to have to learn from.

“The way we see it when we lose at home like we did last week‚ it means we have to get one back away from home.

"This defeat means we have to win another one away and make sure we win at home.

"This conference is still wide open and ultimately we feel our destination is still in our hands.”