Bulls in fight for survival

03 September 2018 - 12:47 By Liam Del Carme
Ivan van Zyl of the Vodacom Blue Bulls clears the base during the Currie Cup match between Vodacom Blue Bulls and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Loftus Versfeld on September 01, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Ivan van Zyl of the Vodacom Blue Bulls clears the base during the Currie Cup match between Vodacom Blue Bulls and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Loftus Versfeld on September 01, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

Following defeat to the Sharks and on Saturday at home against the Golden Lions‚ the Blue Bulls are in a desperate struggle for survival in this season’s shortened Currie Cup.

They have to win all their remaining games to have a chance of qualifying for the play-offs.

Coach Pote Human acknowledged their plight.

“It is a knock to the confidence. The pressure is really on us. We have to go to Kimberley.

"We know what will await us there. They are not easy there. It will be tough‚” he said about their next game against Griquas and the remainder of their league campaign.

Captain Hanro Liebenberg remained sanguine about their prospects.

“There is a lot of character in this team. I don’t doubt the team‚ I don’t doubt the players and I don’t doubt the management. We will come back strong. We won’t give up without a fight.” Liebenberg vowed.

Against the Golden Lions‚ Human saw his team fall on the wrong side of the law far too often and his frustration showed.

“I was really disappointed with our discipline‚" he said.

"Last week we conceded just five penalties.

"This week‚ we see high tackles‚ neck rolls‚ going offside. That is not us. We have to work on that.”

His team also fell off an inordinate number of tackles as the Lions ran in seven tries.

“The structure was there (in defence) but missing one-on-one tackles is about attitude. If you don’t want to tackle‚ you don’t want to tackle.”

In attack the Bulls at times lacked composure and it served to undermine them.

“I think it was over eagerness. We want to score tries. We need to be more patient‚” said Liebenberg.

The captain also defended his team’s decision to predominantly kick for the corner flag when kickable penalties were on offer.

The Lions kicked one and it proved to be the score that made the difference.

“If you want to win the competition it is about the teams that score the most tries‚" he said.

"Teams that score tries get into a semifinal and a final. We want to score tries.

"There are times however where you want to make the score bigger‚ little by little.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Bulls.

Flanker Ruan Steenkamp scored a hat trick of tries‚ but he also got himself sin binned.

“He’s unbelievable‚” remarked Human.

“We know him as a true‚ passionate Bulls player. He puts his body on the line‚ that’s why he is always injured. He gives everything.”

While the Bulls mauled with much intent‚ Human was also pleased with his team’s line-out that yielded a 100 percent return on their feeds.

“That is something we can build on‚” he said.

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