Bulls tackle their demons
Sun, 01 Jul 2012 11:07
We lost three games in a row, so we needed to get back on the horse
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke highlighted his team's commitment and accuracy on defence as the key to their victory over the Cheetahs.
The Bulls dominated the first hour of the game, racking up forty points in a typically powerful display before falling away in the final quarter of the match and allowing the Cheetahs to score four tries of their own.
The victory ended a sequence of three consecutive defeats for the Pretoria franchise and Ludeke said that the platform for their first-half blitz had been laid by some strong defensive work.
"I thought our defence was good. In the first half we squeezed a few turnovers and we were accurate from there and actually all our tries in the first half came from turnover ball," said the Bulls coach.
With his team in a commanding position Ludeke made wholesale changes on the hour mark which seemed to shift the momentum in the game, but he insisted that it was the right decision in terms of managing his players effectively.
"There are many players like Louis Fouche and Jano Vermaak who don't get a lot of game time and I think it was definitely the right thing to do.
"Then there were guys like Pierre [Spies], Morne [Steyn] and Hougie [Hougaard] that played in all of the Springbok Tests [against England last month]," Ludeke explained.
Another factor which helped the resurgent Cheetahs was the impact of their replacements WP Nel and Sias Ebersohn. Nel scored a brace of tries whilst Ebersohn was able to expose the Bulls' defence with a series of chip kicks over the top that resulted in attacking opportunities.
"I thought we had a lot of trouble covering the chip kicks and suddenly they got three tries on us.
"They got some belief and they started to enjoy it and they kept coming, so we had our hands full in the second half," said Ludeke.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies said that although they did not press home their advantage in the final 20 minutes his team are happy to be back to winning ways.
"It was good for us to get a win. It was very important to play well, and also for us, we lost three games in a row, so we needed to get back on the horse."
"I think we did well tonight and in that last 20 minutes I think we took our foot off the peddle. We lost concentration and the Cheetahs came back with some tries," he said.
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